A date has now been set for a Judicial Review hearing against the Department for Work and Pensions over the raising of the pension age for the 3.8 million women born in the 1950s.
The hearing is to be on 24 May. This is later than expected because the DWP was so convinced that the to the application for a review, brought by BackTo60 campaigning group last year, would fail and so had no back up plan. They have therefore been granted more time to prepare their case, as all of its initial arguments to stop the review were thrown out by the judge!
The review means that the government will have to answer whether the decision to raise the state pension age from 60 to 65 and then 66 amounted to age and equality discrimination. The key point is that the judge decided that although the legislation dated back to 1995 the present effects of the change is causing hardship to a specific group of women who were not able to fully contribute to the national insurance fund.
The original hearing also led the government to admit that further changes introduced by the coalition government in 2011 had been part of an austerity programme and reveal that the private pensions industry is also against the women winning their case as it could have a knock on effect on private occupational pensions that are tied to the state pension age.
The issue of maladministration will NOT be the main feature of the case as this is being dealt with by the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Cases of discrimination and resulting hardship can still be brought by MPs to the Ombudsman and recently Ben Lake, the Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion filed a case on behalf of a constituent.