State Pension  

New petition against state pension changes launched

New petition against state pension changes launched

An academic who is arguing that the government's chosen mechanism to increase the state pension age for women could have breached the UK's international legal obligations, has launched a petition to Parliament.

Jackie Jones, law professor at the University of the West of England, has previously said there could be legal grounds for the state pension age hike for women to be removed and for full restitution.

In her petition, launched yesterday and signed by more than 1,800 people so far, she is calling on the government to transpose the provisions of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to UK law.

Described as an international bill of rights for women, CEDAW was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly, instituted in 1981, and ratified by 189 states.

The UK government ratified it in 1986 but had not incorporated all its provisions citing concerns over disproportionality in terms of gender, effectively giving women more rights than others, such as disabled people or people from different ethnic groups.

Ms Jones' petition was launched on the UK government and Parliament website, which means if it reaches 10,000 signatures, the government will have to respond to it. If it surpasses 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

She had previously flagged her concerns in a support document to a judicial review in September. In this she wrote: "In general terms, the mechanisms chosen and their consequent negative impact on women born in the 50s breach the UK’s international law obligations."

She said the result was a "discrimination against women and a failure on the part of the state to advance the women’s position in society as well as a state failure to implement substantive and/or transformative equality".

The review is being brought by BackTo60, a group supporting women affected by the state pension age changes, which is seeking to force the government to reverse the changes.

The movement, which claims to have 723,500 supporters, is being supported by a legal team led by Michael Mansfield QC, renowned civil rights barrister, and legal firm Birnberg Peirce.

The High Court has so far granted an oral hearing to the campaign group as part of the judicial review claim process.

Backto60, along with other campaign groups like Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi), is arguing against the perceived 'inequality and unfair treatment' of women born in the 1950s who have experienced changes to their state pension age.

The groups claim that when the 1995 Conservative government's Pension Act included plans to increase the women’s state pension age to 65 – the same as men's – the changes were implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice.

The movements also claim the changes were implemented faster than promised with the 2011 Pension Act, and had left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.

Backto60 is requesting the state pension age to be kept at 60 for women born in the 1950s, but such a decision would cost £77bn and has previously been dismissed by the government.