Labour vows to help women affected by pension age changes after court lets them down

The Labour Party it will do what it can to compensate the so-called ‘WASPI’ protesters – Women Against State Pension Inequality – after the High Court ruled that the government had not discriminated against them on grounds of age and/or sex.

The government has implemented changes to the pension age for women, in order to equalise it with that for men, in a move that affected nearly four million women who were born in the 1950s – some became homeless as a result and many became suicidal.

They said not enough was done to publicise the changes and to ensure that those affected would be ready.

The UN committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has said the rise in the pension age has added to “poverty, homelessness and financial hardship among the affected women”.

“The 1950s women helped build Britain and were let down by the government’s pension changes. They will understandably be very disappointed by today’s finding,” said shadow pensions minister Jack Dromey.

“Labour has already made commitments to support women affected, including by extending Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women. We will consult further with the 1950s women affected as to what future support we can put in place once in government to help ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.”

Michael Mansfield QC, representing the women affected, added: “They have pushed women who were already disadvantaged into the lowest class you can imagine.

“They’re on the brink of survival, and I’m not overstating that. This group – especially the percentage of the group affected born in 1953 onwards – are increasingly having taken away from them four to six years’ worth of state pension. We’re dealing with very serious sums: £37,000 to £47,000. I think any citizen would be concerned by that withdrawal.”

In a summary of the court’s decision, Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple said their hands were tied: “The court was saddened by the stories contained in the claimants’ evidence. But the court’s role was limited. There was no basis for concluding that the policy choices reflected in the legislation were not open to government. In any event they were approved by Parliament.

“The wider issues raised by the claimants about whether the choices were right or wrong or good or bad were not for the court. They were for members of the public and their elected representatives.”

In fact, it seems the only person happy about the verdict was Boris Johnsons spokesperson, who crowed that it has “always been our view” the changes made were “entirely lawful and did not discriminate on any grounds”.

“Government decided in 1995 it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality,” the spokesperson said. “Today the court recognised the extensive communications that the Department for Work and Pensions made to publicise these changes over many years.”

Did it?

It seems clear that there’s only one way these pensioners are going to get compensation for this decision – made by a Tory government in 1995 and implemented by a Tory government in 2010:

Elect a Labour government.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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9 thoughts on “Labour vows to help women affected by pension age changes after court lets them down

  1. Jeffrey Davies

    There was twenty billion surplus in the pension pot but ho hay it was used to give big biz tax breaks

    1. Gary

      There is no ‘pension pot’ per se. Unlike private schemes there is no fund. You contribute NI to cover health, pension and other ‘benefits’ but it goes to the Treasury along with Income Tax and other levies and is distributed from there. There is only one ‘pot’

      Are you perhaps thinking of company schemes in the past where companies like, but not exclusively, MGN, were given ‘pension holidays’ because their fund had swelled so much that they applied for, and were granted, a holiday from their contributions as an employer. This backfired spectacularly in most cases when the recession of the 80s hit and the companies had ‘black holes’ and were unable to meet their pensioners needs.

    2. Robbo

      There is actually nearer twenty five billion surplus in the NI Fund of which two-thirds is required as the recommended reserve. The NI Fund was ring fenced but it is believed that some of it was used to reduce te national debt. However it was only borrowed and the amount remains the ‘prperty’ of the Fund and earns a small amount of interest. It is quite separate from General taxation.

  2. hugosmum70

    How come these women arent already receiving pension credit from the day they reach 60 until whatever year their pension is available to them .after all they will be lucky to get a job at their age. its been available to people who have to give up work due to disability (i.e. a Long distance lorry driver who suffers with painful shoulders put down to arthritis that i know who at 62 received pension credit till his pension was due on his 65th birthday and who whilst still on it had the cheek to have a go at what he called social security scroungers.he didnt even realise that pension credit WAS a benefit. but if it was available for him back then it should be available to these women now up until they can officially claim their state pension

  3. hilary772013

    It’s a bloody disgrace, my friend born in 1956 who became very poorly ended up on ESA support group, applied for PIP refused ended up going to tribunal refused again. Whilst awaiting the result of test case regarding PIP that would have affected her result, I found her passed away on her bathroom floor last September. She had worked as a senior administrator purchased her own small business a pet shop which she had to give up in 2015 due to people not spending due to austerity she saw her profits drop year on year. She could have retired at 60 instead of having to wait until 67, she could have had help from the government when she became ill, this is how they treat people that had payed into the system all their life.

  4. kateuk

    As a WASPI woment myself I know that the first change wasn’t publicised, I never received anything from the government and I only knew about it because I worked for a large company that had “pension advisers” come in every year, and we could make an appointment to see them. Many women weren’t in this position and didn’t really know how the changes would affect them. It was only when the pensionable age was raised for women a second time that I received a letter from HMRC. By this time I was within 7 years of expected retirement date with plans in place that I had to change.

  5. Gary

    The point the court made that this change was made to correct a discrimination against men who were forced to work on for longer for the same pension. NB this was only on a ‘like for like’ as some women elected to pay the ‘small stamp’ Those doing so accepted, at the time, a lesser entitlement to various benefits. This particular problem HAS been overcome by ensuring all pensioners have the same entitlement.

    Of course, what SHOULD have happened is that the men’s retirement age was reduced. Men, after all, don’t survive as long into retirement as women do, not just having less pensionable years but dying at a younger age. If anything it should have been men who retired earlier.

    What should have been done was to treat State Pension’s future claimants as if it were a Company Scheme. For example, many companies have moved away from superannuation in favour of contributory schemes, the way in which this has been done in many companies is to immediately place new entrants on the contributory scheme whilst allowing existing members to retain the superannuation. Over the course of some years the company will cut across to 100% contributory. There is no reason this could not have been done.

    The ONLY reason for not doing this is political. This is ideologically driven, and not because of equality, because it’s a reduction in ‘benefits’ and it’s part of the ‘austerity’ drive to punish the poor. This has been enacted in the same way Labour started the Tax Credits system. Back then they were warned NOT to put EVERY customer on the new system on the same day, it would crash. They knew, they did it anyway, the system crashed and they forced HMRC to make cash payments to literally anyone who asked for it. In the resultant widespread confusion fraud was rife and te government decided to blame the people who’d tried to help them avoid it – HMRC!

    What Labour SHOULD do is reverse this or implement a ‘cut-across’ as I suggest above. What they are promising is to ‘support’ those affected, or is it to TRY to support those affected? Extending tax credits sounds good, but ‘extending’ doesn’t REALLY mean just paying out pensions to those who WOULD have gotten it and now won’t though. Wait and see what the support actually is. They’re NOT promising to overturn or pay pensions to those affected, anything short of that is just warm words – warm words won’t heat their houses, will they?

  6. hugosmum70

    QUOTE:- “NB this was only on a ‘like for like’ as some women elected to pay the ‘small stamp’ Those doing so accepted, at the time, a lesser entitlement to various benefits.” UNQUOTE

    women back then didnt have to accept anything like you say Gary….. BACK THEN, AND INDEED UPTO FAIRLY RECENTLY. THINK WAS LAST YEAR, WOMEN COULD CLAIM A PENSION USING THEIR HUSBANDS ni STAMPS RECORD . WITHOUT IT AFFECTING THEIR HUSBANDS PENSION. I know this because i was one of those women. had i only had the stamps i paid in my pension would have been only £23 a week when i reached 60 in 2002. part of the reason for this was that i first had 2 years working in various shops and offices prior to starting work as a nursing student. i left nursing to have my kids in 1969. in 1976 i received a letter saying that the way things were done re NI savings stamps, was changing. that i would lose any stamps i had paid in from 1957 to 1969. i could pay the equivelent to bring it up to date (nearly £100). which as a young couple, with 2 under 5’s by then, my hubby ex army who had problens finding a job when he came out of the army. no way could we find £100. so it didnt get done. i had already paid those stamps anyway. over the next years, i did part time weork. most women didnt do enough hours to pay full stamp. the jobs fitted around my kids schooling and the jobs my husband DID manage to get. most were less than the minimum wage. no regulatory bodies around then for that. yes some women DID elect to pay half stamp./ but some couldnt afford to pay full. they didnt earn enough.therefore had no choice but to pay half stamp. was better than no benefits at all.

  7. govttookmypension

    If it was all for the sake of men, then true equality could have been achieved by lowering men’s state pension age to 62/63 and increasing women’s by the same amount. It was all about the money, men’s lives were not made any better and women’s lives have been devastated under the intolerable burden of being slain by 6 year pension age hike that has lost them in the region of £45k. it’s not just these women who lose it impacts their families as well, making them poorer.

    At the same time as snatching women’s state pension, they also did away with pension credit for men from age 60 years. Never has equality more fully disadvantaged those who it was supposed to help.

    Equalising at 62.5 years would have been a less devastating blow, those who are married would have had loss and gain in equal measure and could perhaps have mitigated changes between them. NO!!! State Pension Age (SPA), increases, were wholly about the money, our money that they wanted and actually took. Stop lying to us.

    Where do we go when there is no justice in our courts and Government do not respond to our plight when they know full well we have been wronged. Parliament have done nothing but faff around with us for last 8 years running us around the block again and again and again, offering us nothing at all of substance, insulting us with means tested pittance instead of our own independence. We are really fkn angry now.

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