‘We would support the 1950s pension women’, Labour Party says

The Opposition has responded to yesterday’s High Court decision in the state pension age case, offering to support the women affected if it were to win the next General Election.

Campaign group BackTo60 failed in its court bid to have the rise in the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 ruled as discriminatory.

Shadow Pensions Minister Jack Dromey did not go as far as confirming the Labour party would reverse this change in pension age, but said that the 3.8 million women born in the 1950s who were affected by the move would have been “very disappointed” with the claim’s outcome.

“The 1950s women helped build Britain and were let down by the government’s pension changes,” he stated. “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.”

The court challenge centred around the UK government’s decision in 2010 to gradually raise the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 to bring it in line with that of men.

While the move ensured a parity in pensionable ages, the claimants argued that the way the changes had been introduced was unfair, leaving many women inadequate time to prepare for the sudden drop in their retirement incomes. The ‘taper mechanism’ used to calculate the changes also meant that women born from 1953 onwards were particularly hard hit, they added.

Michael Mansfield QC, the barrister representing the women affected, said the new rules had “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,” he argued. “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.”

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