1950s women mull appeal to state pension age defeat

by Laura Miller from interactive investor |

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BackTo60 campaigners considering Supreme Court appeal over extra wait for their pensions.

Women fighting to have increases to their state pension age reversed have lost their appeal against a High Court ruling ,but may fight on.

These women, who had previously been eligible for the state pension at age 60, must wait until at least age 66 to receive the benefit under changes to bring their state pension ages into line with men’s.

Four million women born in the 1950s are the first cohort affected by the government’s increase. Many claim they were given insufficient notice or information about the change to prepare for an extra six-year (or more) wait for their pension.

Two of those seeking to have the change reversed for 1950s women yesterday lost their appeal against a High Court ruling in favour of the government’s stance that the state pension age increase was carried out fairly.

Moira O’Neill, head of personal finance at interactive investor, said: “The loss will be a bitter, if not necessarily unexpected, pill for campaigners to swallow and is a timely reminder that savers cannot rely on future governments to keep promises regarding the state pension.”

Interactive investor has had “devastating” anecdotes from women and their partners affected by the rise in the retirement age for women and have suffered financial hardship as a result, where “the absence of clear communication of the change was painfully obvious,” she added.

Women typically rely more heavily on the state pension for retirement income because they have private pensions up to a third less than men, due to taking time out of the workforce to raise families and the subsequent tendency towards less well-paid part-time work.

Fifties women, who were more often expected to take on more traditional roles and not have careers, are particularly likely to have smaller private pensions.

But two senior judges who heard the appeal unanimously dismissed the women's claim that they have suffered unlawful discrimination.

Joanne Welch, founder and director of campaign group BackTo60, told the BBC she will now consider taking the case to the Supreme Court and would also draft legislation to bring a women's Bill of Rights.

Unison, the UK's largest trade union, said raising the state pension age with "next to no notice" has had a calamitous effect on the retirement plans of a generation of women.

It called on MPs to intervene to help those women who were now struggling to make ends meet.

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