Industry warns there are lessons to be learned following Backto60 ruling

The pensions industry has warned that there are lessons to be learned from the High Court ruling which found that changes to the female state pension age for women born in the 1950s was not discriminatory.

Poor communication between the government and the public in relation to pensions was highlighted as an area that needs to improve to avoid a similar situation in the future.

“Today’s judgment may well have gone in the government’s favour but there are lessons they must learn from this,” began Royal London pension specialist, Helen Morrissey.

“While the judges said the increases were not discriminatory and they were not in a position to conclude steps taken to inform these women were reasonable there is no question that women have experienced severe financial hardship as a result of this change.

“The government must ensure such changes are communicated more effectively in future.”
LCP partner and head of pensions research, David Everett, added: “There are two hindsight lessons to draw from this.

“First, there could have been far better communication, targeted at those most affected, when the changes to the state pension were made – and any such communication should have been ongoing.

“Second, the transition ought to have been gentler so that the shock was less for those caught unaware.”

Many expressed their sympathy for the campaigners but didn’t see how a revival of the cause would be possible following the ruling.

“This ruling will come as a bitter blow to the millions of women who had been hoping the courts would roll back the tide on state pension age increases,” commented AJ Bell senior analyst, Tom Selby.

“While some of these stories are heart-breaking, increases in the state pension age have been a long time coming and are deemed necessary to ensure the costs borne by younger taxpayers don’t spiral out of control.”

Hargreaves Lansdown head of policy, Tom McPhail, added: “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.”

Industry figures also expected the government to feel a sense of relief that the court came down on its side, and a Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said that it welcomed the High Court’s judgment.

“It has always been our view that the changes we made to women’s state pension age were entirely lawful and did not discriminate on any grounds.”

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