Pension activists urge women to ‘stay positive’ ahead of court appeal
- Credit: Lynn Nicholls
Campaigners battling changes to the women’s state pension have spoken out ahead of a landmark appeal court case and urged tens of thousands of affected Norfolk women to “stay positive”.
The Broads Pension Action in Norfolk (PAIN) group have been highlighting the impact on 1950s born women of the government’s changes to the state pension age.
A hike in women’s retirement age saw those born in the 1950s waiting up to an additional six years to receive state pensions - with 3.5m women across the country thought to have lost out on payments worth up to £40,000, and 45,000 women in Norfolk alone affected, with some left penniless.
The state pension age for women was upped from 60 to 66 - and the activists say they were not given sufficient notice, and were left reliant on family, benefits, or forced to continue working in spite of health issues.
A landmark High Court judicial review was brought last year after two members of the Backto60 group sued the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for age and sex discrimination.
But in October, judges said there was “no direct discrimination”, which activists called “immoral”, “frustrating” and “disappointing”.
Now a fresh appeal against the decision is set to be heard by judges on Tuesday, July 21, and Wednesday, July 22, and Backto60 are seeking back payments for all the money lost by 1950s women.
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And ahead of the new ruling, PAIN have created an emotional series of videos highlighting efforts by Norfolk women to raise awareness of the issue.
While a spokeswoman for the group said: “After five years of campaigning for our group, we are staying positive and hoping justice prevails for the 45,000 affected women in Norfolk.”
Lynn Nicholls, one of the PAIN leaders, added: “We’re hoping that because it’s been allowed to go to the appeal, that shows they’ve dug up more evidence. We’re hoping that it goes in out favour.”
Mrs Nicholls added that PAIN had organised a coach of women to attend the court hearing in London, but the trip had to be called off due to the pandemic.
“It’s not safe for us to go at the moment so we won’t risk it for our members with the way things are,” she said.
However, the hearing will now be streamed live for the public to watch proceedings safely.
“We’re going to follow along from home and try to support each other and keep positive.”