High Court rules on women’s pension age case

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Up until 2010, women received their state pension at the age of 60 but that has been rising since then. The retirement age for women rose from 60 to 65, in line with men, and will go up to 66 by 2020 and to 67 by 2028. In response to this, two women of the Backto60 campaign took the Department for Work and Pensions to court, arguing that not receiving their state pension at the age of 60 had affected them disproportionately and that raising their pension age “unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age, sex and age and sex combined”.

They argued that many women took time out of work to care for children, were paid less than men and could not save as much in occupational pensions, resulting in financial hardship for many.

However, the judge disagreed, stating that “there was no direct discrimination on the grounds of age or sex because this legislation does not treat women less favourably than men in law”.

While most campaigners support pension age equality, they argue that the government was discriminatory in the way it had introduced it. The Backto60 group is therefore seeking repayment of all people affected by the state pension age, and for them to be paid the pension they would have received had they been able to retire when they had expected to – more than £40,000 a year.

However, given that it would cost the government an estimated £215bn to reverse the pension changes, it is questionable whether the changes made by government are actually achieving inter-generational fairness and whether a “bridging” pension is necessary to cover the gap from the age of 60 until their state pension is paid.