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High Court judges rule against women born in the 50s who claimed sex and age discrimination as a result of the Government equalising the state pension age for men and women.
Women affected by the equalisation of the state pension age have lost a landmark case at the High Court.
Two women, Julie Delve and Karen Glynn, took the case against the Department for Work and Pensions, backed by the Backto60 campaign.
Their argument is that the Government’s decision to raise the retirement age from 60 for women to 65 – the same as men – was discriminatory. The retirement age will rise to 66 for both genders by 2020.
The judges, however, ruled that it was not discriminatory on the grounds of sex. “There was no direct discrimination on grounds of sex, because this legislation does not treat women less favourably than men in law,” Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple said in a statement. “Rather it equalises a historic asymmetry between men and women and thereby corrects historic direct discrimination against men.”
The judges also rejected the claimants’ argument that the policy was discriminatory based on age, adding that even if it was “it could be justified on the facts”. They added that equalisation of the state pension aimed “to ensure intergenerational fairness as between those in receipt of state pensions and the younger taxpayers funding them” and “to control government expenditure at a time of great pressure on public finances”.
It is calculated that nearly 3.8 million women born in the 1950s – many of whom have taken career breaks to care for relatives – could miss out on more than £40,000 in state pensions and that they did not have time to prepare for the changes.