What are Backto60 and WASPI doing? What’s the latest for 1950s women?

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What are the campaign groups for 1950s women affected by the state pension age rise doing? What’s happened since the judicial review decision into the rise in the state pension age?

The judicial review

It was at the start of October (October 3rd) that Backto60 found out that their claim against the government over the way the rise in state pension age had been introduced, was turned down.  The two judges at the High Court ruled that the government hadn’t been sexist, or ageist for the way it increased the state pension for women age to 65.

The judges also ruled that Parliament didn’t have to stipulate that women who were affected had to be written to so they knew when they’d get their state pension. Not surprisingly, many women were devastated. I’ve been contacted by many women who were affected by the rise in the state pension age. Some have been struggling financially for quite a few years.

I wrote a summary of the reasons why the judges rejected the Backto60 claim. It’s not my view of the law – it’s my summary of what they said. You can read it here.

What happens next

Backto60 have confirmed that they are now trying to raise money to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court. As I write this, they’ve raised over £57,000 of their £72,000 target.
You can donate to Backto60’s crowdfunder appeal to take their case to the Supreme Court.

Early Day Motion 2296

Backto60 have also organised an early day motion that has been supported by 225 MPs. An early day motion is a motion that is submitted for debate in the House of Commons, but where no date has been fixed. Six MPs have to sign the motion – and they become its sponsors.

The wording of EDMs can be quite lengthy – here is what EDM 2296 says:

“That this House welcomes the positive interventions from many hon. Members from across the House on behalf of women born in the 1950s who have lost their pensions; welcomes the equalisation of retirement ages between women and men; recalls that women born in the 1950s were subject to discriminatory employment and pension laws; recognises that this included being excluded from some pensions schemes; recognises that this had the negative effect for them of losing the opportunity to have the same level of pension as their partner or spouse; further recognises that this has had the consequence of women in this position never being able to have equal pensions to men; further notes that this has negatively and profoundly impacted on them including increased poverty, deteriorating health and homelessness; notes that at least 3.8 million women have been impacted by the loss of their pensions from the age of 60 in three separate age hikes; and calls on the Government to enact a temporary special measure as permitted by international law to provide restitution to women born in the 1950s who have lost their pensions from the age of 60 because of the impact of the rise in retirement age.”

You can find out more about the early day motion – and see if your MP has signed it – on the parliament website.

Help from Boris Johnson?

In July, hopes were raised (a bit) by an answer Boris Johnson gave in a media interview. He was then a contender for the party leader and was being interviewed by Dan Bloom of the Mirror. When he was asked what he would do to address the injustice suffered by 1950s women, Boris Johnson said: “I have made several representations already on behalf of my own constituents who fall into this category, and I must say the answer I’ve got back from the Treasury is not yet satisfactory. But I will undertake – if I’m lucky enough to succeed in this campaign [as party leader] – to return to this issue with fresh vigour and new eyes and see what I can do to sort it out, because I’m conscious it’s been going on for too long.”

At the start of the week, political journalist David Hencke, who has written extensively about the way 1950s women have been treated, posted a photograph of a letter that Boris Johnson had sent to one of his constituents. In it, the prime minister gives a fairly standard ‘government’ reply (albeit with a couple of factual errors…).

The crucial part of the letter, in my view, is this paragraph: “Making further transitional arrangements would not only complicate the system but could also cost the taxpayers many billions of pounds and the potential cost of reversing the 2011 changes has been estimated at £39 billion.”

Related articles:

How the rise in state pension age affects women; Mariana’s story

The history of the state pension – ten things you need to know about how it affects women

Men’s pensions are five times bigger than women’s; but why?

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