State Pension  

MPs vow to 'seek justice' for 1950s women

MPs vow to 'seek justice' for 1950s women

A group of MPs has pledged to continue fighting for women affected by the increase in their state pension age, after the court ruled against them earlier today.

This morning (October 3) the High Court rejected claims that increasing the state pension age for women born in the 1950s discriminated against them on the grounds of age and sex, and that the government had failed to appropriately notify those affected .

But Labour MP Carolyn Harris and Conservative MP Tim Loughton, co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on State Pension Inequality for Women, said they would continue to use all means available – including private members’ bills – “to seek justice for all the women affected”.

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In today’s statement, Ms Harris and Mr Loughton said the APPG's continued aim was to deliver on a series of measures proposed in April 2018.

The first is making a non-means-tested pension credit available to all women aged 63 and over from the day it is approved until they reach state pension age, which won’t be backdated.

The APPG's second solution is to equalise women’s pensions, so that everyone receives a full state pension (£159 per week) regardless of the number of years of National Insurance contributions accrued.

Last but not least the MPs want to extend pension credit for those worst affected who have no other income or private pension available to them and are suffering financial hardship.

Plans to increase the state pension age were first announced in the Pension Act 1995 but these changes were accelerated as part of the Pension Act 2011.

Campaign groups The Women Against State Pension Inequality and Backto60 have claimed these changes were implemented unfairly, with little or no personal notice.

The groups, which are calling for compensation for those affected, have also claimed that changes were implemented faster than promised with the 2011 Pension Act and left women with no time to make alternative plans, leading to devastating consequences.

In reaction to today’s ruling, Waspi stated the judgement doesn’t cover the maladministration complaints with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

The PHSO, which in November had selected six complaints to act as lead cases to set a precedent for thousands of others, suspended this process in December due to the judicial review.

Waspi officials stated that DWP and the PHSO will be considering this outcome and taking a decision on whether and how to proceed the cases.

“We will also be seeking legal advice on the implications for our mass maladministration complaint,” it stated.

FTAdviser reported in December that the DWP’s Independent Case Examiner’s office was also closing complaints about the changes to women's state pension age because the matter had been taken to court.

But in January, pensions minister Guy Opperman noted the ICE could reopen the 2,505 cases which were closed once the matter is no longer the subject of legal proceedings.