Back to 60, the campaigning group who are supported by 738,000 of the 3.9 million 50s women waiting up to six years to get their pensions, lodged a claim at the High Court against the Department for Work and Pensions yesterday.
This is the first stage of taking real action to put right the injustice suffered by the women ever since the government embarked on a policy of continually raising the pension age. It will be followed by a High Court hearing where a judge will be asked to allow the review to go ahead. It is bound to be challenged by the government which is determined not to pay up but ministers will have to justify their actions.
Backto60 lodged the documents with only 48 hours to spare as the courts start their summer recess tomorrow and the courts will bot hear cases until after October 1.
The move is the culmination of action taken by the group which now involves support for the issue from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which intends to raise the issue at the United Nations, the Fawcett Society and other campaigners.
A legal statement from Binberg Peirce & Michael Mansfield QC reads:
“The basis of the legal challenge is that the pension policy implemented by successive governments in respect of women of a particular age group (those born in the 1950s) constitutes a gross injustice and is discriminatory. The impact on the economic, social and mental wellbeing of these women, who rightly enjoyed a perfectly legitimate expectation of satisfactory provision in retirement, has been devastating.
“The extent of individual distress and hardship is only now becoming evident through real stories of women around the UK. It is deeply ironic that all of this is done in the name of equalisation and equality, when the very means employed to achieve this are themselves discriminatory.
“It is intended that the current pension policy be subjected to both public and judicial scrutiny and, therefore, steps are now being taken towards mounting a judicial challenge.”
At the same time Stephen Lloyd, Liberal Democrat MP for Eastbourne, whose coalition government made matters worse for 50s women by backing an acceleration of the rise in pension ages, has finally got a meeting on behalf of Waspi with the Ombudsman to discuss whether there was maladministration in not informing women.
Altogether the government is to face a big challenge this autumn.