Campaigners have lost a significant legal battle against the government’s handling of the rise in women’s state pension age. The retirement age for women had already risen from 60 to 65 in 2018, and is now due to increase to 66 by 2020, and to 67 by 2028.
These changes are particularly hard-hitting for women born in the 1950’s, because they didn’t have enough time to make adjustments to cope with years without a state pension, that initially they hadn’t anticipated.
The judges ruled that the newly-approved state pension ages are a positive step forwards to gender equality, as it equalises women and men’s pensions. However, the flaw in this argument is that it neglects to understand the treatment of women born in the 1950’s who have been left in a limbo of uncertainty since 2011.
Joanne Welch, the leader of the campaign outside of the court, declares that they will continue to ask the government to reconsider. The key argument of the campaign is that the government is disregarding the struggle and difficulties that have been inflicted upon women in their 60’s, due to the inconsistency of SPA rulings.
The result of these ongoing changes to the SPA rulings has resulted in some women having to wait more than 5 years. This has understandably resulted in serious financial hardship for many people. All of those affected were born in the decade after 6 April, 1950, however, those born from 6 April 1953 were more acutely affected and thus have been the focus of much of the campaign.
Spokespeople from the Backto60 group argued that many women took time out of work to care for children, were paid less than men and could not save as much in occupational pensions, the fact that changes have been ambiguous has hit them even harder. Approximately 3.8 million women were affected in this way, with some potentially losing out on more than £40,000.
Hepzhi Pemberton, founder and CEO of Equality Group, offers the following commentary: “The changing status of SPAs has left millions of women stranded. The severity of this situation was largely caused by unequal pay, which was prevalent in the 20th Century. This is startling evidence that demonstrates one of many reasons it is essential, for businesses and our population’s success alike, to ensure that equal pay measures are met across the country.
“As a society, we should be striving to ensure ultimate equality across gender, race and abilities in the workplace by creating and implementing positive policies. There are still a number of steps that workplaces need to take to improve their working culture. Increasing the general knowledge and awareness around equal pay and pensions will only serve to improve social relations”.