Backto60: High Court reviews government handling of equalisation

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havenifa


Posted on: 13th June 2019

Last week, campaign group BackTo60 made their way to the High Court for a judicial review into how the government implemented the state pension age increase for women. The campaigners said that millions of women born in the 1950s may have been dragged into financial hardship after being left without the ability to comfortably plan for their retirement. They believe the changes were implemented too soon without adequate communication.

BackTo60

The Pensions Act 2011 accelerated plans to equalise the retirement age for men and women. For women, the retirement age rose from 60 to 65 between 2016 and 2018. The state pension for both men and women is set to rise further to 66 in 2020.

Women born in the 1950s had their state pensions “ “deferred twice by stealth… under the false premise of equality and longevity”. This is according to a statement from the BackTo60 website. Thousands of women across the UK have had their retirement plans crushed, which has had a major impact on their mental and physical wellbeing.

It continued, “Thousands of women across the UK have had their retirement plans annihilated. Their mental and physical wellbeing has been very negatively affected.”

Too much change too soon

BackTo60 are not contesting the principle behind the equality of retirement age, but rather the speed and communication of the government putting the policy in place. The group claimed that the government failed to reach out and communicate with thousands of women born in the 50s. This is despite the Department for Work and Pensions running an awareness campaign. Women have since been left unprepared for remaining in the workplace. They argued the DWP, seeking to cut costs, “grotesquely disadvantaged” thousands of women.

BackTo60 hoped that the judicial review would result in a pension repayment to women born in the 1950s, based on the previous retirement age of 60.

The pressure for change

CEO of SOS Silence of Suicide, BackTo60’s charity partner, Yvette Greenway, said day one of the hearing exposed “the government’s attempts to ensure gender pension equality through unfair, unequal and discriminatory implementation”.

She went on to say, “State pension is something these women relied on when they retired. They allowed national insurance deductions from their salaries safe in the knowledge they would have an income in later years. SPA is not a benefit, it is an earned due, paid for by these women for decades.”

A dangerous impact

Greenway also said that the collective psychological impacts of these rushed changes have been catastrophic. According to last year’s research by SOS silence of Suicide, 15 per cent of 1,330 surveyed women who were affected had engaged in self-harm and 8 per cent had even attempted to take their own lives.

However, she did go on to express optimism for BackTo60’s campaign following a positive response. “For once, people are listening, understanding, empathising and supporting,” she said. “We are certain their unified strength, dignity and persistence will ensure the judges give this application the due consideration it merits.”

Don’t let financial setbacks impact your retirement

With such changes being implemented, having a financial adviser by your side has never been so important. With Haven IFA, you can relax knowing your financial future is in safe hands. To learn more about our services, get in touch.