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Four million women could be forced to work longer after losing landmark state pension age court battle

MILLIONS of women could be forced to work longer or survive off smaller pensions after losing a landmark state pension court battle.

The Court of Appeal has today rejected claims that an increase to the state pension age for women born in the 1950’s discriminated against them.

Nearly 1.56million women born in the 1950s have been affected by the changes, according to House of Commons Library estimates, which has seen the state pension age for women jump from 60 to 66.

And altogether, the House of Commons Library estimates nearly 4million women have seen their state pension age rise from 60 – although for some it’s been to less than age 66.

The shake-up was introduced by successive governments in 1995, 2007, and 2011 to bring women’s state pension age in line with men and to account for the fact people are both living and working for longer.

But women born in the 1950’s claim the policy is discriminatory.

The case was brought against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions by two claimants – Julie Delve and Karen Glynn – alongside the support of campaign group BackTo60.

Ms Delve had expected to receive her state pension at the age of 60 in 2018, but as a result of the changes, she won’t receive it until 2024.

Meanwhile, Ms Glynn expected to receive her state pension at 60 in 2016, but will now not receive it until 2022.

They last year lost their hearing at the High Court, but appealed the decision, which is why there was another ruling today.

The women argued that raising their pension age unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age and sex, and that they were not given adequate notice of the changes.

They wanted to have their state pensions backdated to age 60; something campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has also been calling for.

The government opposed the challenge and argued the High Court was right to reject their claim.

In the latest ruling published today, three Court of Appeal judges unanimously also dismissed the claim.

They found that introducing the same state pension age for men and women didn’t amount to unlawful discrimination under EU or human rights laws.

As part of their ruling, the senior justices said that “despite the sympathy that we feel for the appellants and other women in their position, we are satisfied that this is not a case where the court can interfere with the decisions taken through the parliamentary process”.

Following the ruling, it’s likely these women will have to continue working or make cut backs to ensure they can live off smaller than expected pensions.

BackTo60 says this is something affected women have already had to do as many are now over 60.

The women could, however, appeal the decision again to take the case to the highest court in the UK; the Supreme Court.

The Sun has asked BackTo60 whether it plans to appeal the ruling, and we’ll update this article once we har back.

Yvette Greenway-Mansfield, who runs Anna Christian Events, a campaign partner to BackTo60, told The Sun: “Today’s judgment demonstrates perfectly the blatant and ongoing discrimination that women have endured for decades, with no consideration or understanding of the bigger impact upon them.

“My understanding is that the legal team representing the claimants have already submitted an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court to the judges who have just delivered judgment today.”

At a hearing in July, barrister Michael Mansfield, representing the two women, said the impact of the state pension age change had been “catastrophic” for the age group.

Mr Mansfield added that the six-year wait from 60 to 66 translates to a “considerable” sum of money – around £8,000 if it is a full pension, leading to losses that could run up to about £50,000.

Last time round, judges ruled the age change didn’t discriminate against women, and that by bringing women’s pension age in line with men’s it was in fact correcting a historical discrimination against men.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) told The Sun it “welcomed” the judgement.

It added: “Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, finding we acted entirely lawfully and did not discriminate on any grounds.

“The claimants argued that they were not given adequate notice of the changes to State Pension age. We are pleased the court decided that due notice was given and the claimants’ arguments must fail.”

In future, state pension age will rise again to 68 for younger generations of both men and women.

But some think tanks have suggested it should rise again to 70, and then again to 75 by 2035.

The state pension triple lock, which is used to calculate how much you should be paid, is also under threat.

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