Backto60: What next for 1950s women? This is how the state pension age debate may continue
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Backto60 have debated changes to the State Pension age, arguing that a certain group of women, commonly known as 1950s women, have been disadvantaged due to the alteration. State Pension age has undergone changes within recent years due to the Pensions Act of 1995 and 2011, respectively. The state pension age moved up to 65 for both men and women in a process of equalisation, followed by gradual upratings to 66.
Changes under these Acts affected approximately 3.8million women, with the group maintaining they were not given sufficient enough notice to make retirement preparations to account for the age shift.
Eventually, the government was taken to court on the matter, with campaigners arguing there had been discrimination.
While the initial case was unsuccessful, 1950s women were awaiting the results of a Court of Appeal hearing which took place a number of months ago.
However, the two women who brought the case, Julie Delve and Karen Glynn, supported by Backto60, lost the appeal against the High Court ruling today.
The court unanimously dismissed the appeal, and said the introduction of equalisation did not amount to unlawful discrimination.
Women born in the 1950s, including Backto60 and WASPI campaigners, now potentially have a number of options to consider.
One option on the table is potentially progressing the matter to the High Court.
Joanne Welch, founder and director of Backto60, told the BBC she was now considering this, alongside drafting legislation to bring a women’s Bill of Rights.
Lawyers will now be drawing up an application to appeal to the Supreme Court – which is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases.
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However, one pension expert has suggested an alternative route that could potentially bring success for those who argue the changes have affected them detrimentally.
Sir Steve Webb, former pensions minister and partner at LCP, tweeted: “Following defeat in court today for the Backto60 campaign, seems likely that the Parliamentary Ombudsman is the last big hope for campaigners.
“The Parliamentary Ombudsman once found against the government on a state pension issue which cost the government billions to put right.”
At present, 1950s women may have to fall back on six ‘sample’ complaints of maladministration which have been raised to the Ombudsman.
But it is, as of yet, unclear whether these will be supported, or what kind of reimbursement, if any, 1950s women will receive.
Nonetheless, the Ombudsman is independent of government and so may present an opportunity for campaigners.
However, regardless of the decision made going forward, Britons have been urged to think carefully about their retirement.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, commented on today’s decision and the bearing it has on retirement going forward.
She said: “This legal challenge is the culmination of years of work, so it will come as a huge disappointment to campaigners that the Appeal Court has unanimously dismissed the appeal.
“The rising state pension age is an inevitable consequence of increasing longevity. Men and women will have to work longer into their 60s or even their 70s before they’ll get their state pension.
“It means we all need to get to grips with our own retirement plans and take control of how and when we want to retire – and how we’re going to save enough in order to make that possible.
“The earlier we can do this, the less we’ll be at the mercy of state pension age changes in future.”
As the Backto60 campaign has vowed to fight on, it remains to be seen what the final outcome of the state pension age debate will be.
However, whatever conclusion is arrived at is likely to affect millions of Britons now and going forward.
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