At the end of Day1 in the Appeal Court, this is where we are in the process of bringing justice to the approximately 3.8 million British women who were born in the 1950s and had their State pension rights denied.
Draconian changes under the 1995 and 2011 Acts respectively affected such women. The Backto60 group has always maintained they were not given sufficient enough notice to prepare for the changes to the State Pension age, and were left with up to to six years in poverty.
Julie Delve and Karen Glynn decided to bring their case to court, maintaining they had been discriminated against on the grounds of sex and age. The pair, who were supported by the Backto60 campaign group, lost their first landmark court battle, but vowed to fight on.
In an opening statement at today’s Appeal Court hearing, Michael Mansfield QC said: “The impact on this cohort – they are bearing the brunt and shouldering the onerous situations that arise after the statutes that come into force – has been dramatic and I am not overestimating in my language. This has been catastrophic and their lives have been totally fractured having to face a situation of this kind…..Besides the economic – almost poverty line – existence they have to face, it goes without saying that the psychological and mental stress placed upon them, has reduced many people to an inability to go and do what they need to do to make ends meet”.
He added that many women were not made aware of the changes to the State Pension age until one, two or three years before it was due to take effect. The DWP has alwas denied this, but the facts suggest otherwise: successive administrations put out information (a) in media these women were unlikely to see – for example, at Job Centres or in the Financial Times – and (b) in a syntax somewhat lacking on the candid dimension.
Later, Barrister Adam Straw went on to assert the obvious: that women born in the 1950s are likely to be in a worse socio-economic position to be able to take the hit of a raised State Pension age by comparison with others both more affluent and erudite.
The problem as ever in going legal against the State is that it often winds up being a collection of fusty precedents, mediaeval statutes and umpteen other ways the Establishment can wriggle out of its undertakings.
This is precisely such an instance. The Backto60/Waspi case is based on a natural ethic – a promise is a promise. No amount of clever-dick legalese or bureaucratic double-talk has any relevance at the end of the day: the UK State awarded all women a pension at 60. End of.
If, following 55 years of budgetary incompetence, waste, political vanity projects and electoral bribes, the Government of the Day can’t afford to keep its word, then such is their problem, not ours.
We pay these idiots to fight our corner. If they fail in that endevour, then the Social Contract has been broken…..and they must pay – not us