Updated: Backto60 loses state pension age discrimination case

The High Court has sided with the government and dismissed the Backto60 claim which stipulated that rises to the state pension age for women born in the 1950s were discriminatory.

Two claimants, backed by the Backto60 organisation, argued that equalising the state pension age for women born in the 1950s “unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age, sex, and age and sex combined”.

Women born in the 1950s had also claimed that the rise was unfair because they were not given sufficient time to prepare for the changes.

Commenting on the ruling, the High Court judges said: "There was no direct discrimination on grounds of sex, because this legislation does not treat women less favourably than men in law.

“Rather it equalises a historic asymmetry between men and women and thereby corrects historic direct discrimination against men."

The BackTo60 movement had been campaigning on behalf of the 3.8 million women affected by the proposed increase of the state pension age for them to be paid in full the amount of pension they would have received if the state pension age had remained at 60.

The government initially set out a timetable to equalise women’s state pension age with men’s in the Pensions Act 1995. Then in the Pensions Act 2011 the government accelerated this increase so it would be complete by 2020.

However, some of the affected women saw a further increase when the government increased the state pension age for both genders to 66.

The government had previously estimated the cost of reversing the state pension age changes for women to be £181.4bn between now and 2025/26.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of policy, Tom McPhail, commented: “The government will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief at this judgement, as any financial remedy would have cost them many billions of pounds to deliver.

“Given most of the women involved are now already past their revised state pension age, it is hard to see where the campaign will go from here.”

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