CAB - 7 Oct 2020 - 10 Oct 2020 - Advice

Community / Pension group to keep campaigning despite court ruling

State pension protestors in Lerwick earlier this year. Photo: Peter Johnson/Shetland News

A LOCAL group protesting against changes to the state pension age has expressed its disappointment after campaigners lost a legal challenge at the High Court.

Zara Pennington of the Shetland Pension Justice Group said “we will still be campaigning, focusing on political representatives and building cross party support to reverse to some of the pension changes to what is a more equitable solution”.

Campaigners argued that a rise in pension age for women in recent years from 60 to 65 left some women born in the 1950s unprepared for the change and in a position where they would have to work more years than anticipated before being able to claim the state pension.

The High Court in London ruled on Thursday, however, that the changes were not discriminatory.

It added that the wider issue was for politicians, not the court, and that compensation for affected women would not be forthcoming.

The department for work and pensions was taken to court on the the grounds it “unlawfully discriminated” against two claimants on the grounds of “age, sex, and age and sex combined”.

Up until 2010 women received state pensions from when they turned 60, but it has been rising since to achieve parity with men.

In November last year the state pension age was 65 for both men and women.

Pennington said while the Shetland campaign group was “very disappointed” with the outcome of the judicial review, it acknowledged it as a political issue more than a legal one.

“We are saddened that the court was not able to find that there was sex based discrimination in the case, as some of the women affected by the recent changes to the pension ages started working before the 1970 equal pay act came into effect,” she said.

Locally protests on the issue were held at the Tesco roundabout in Lerwick for a number of weeks earlier this year, although they were put on hold during the judicial review.

A film about “pension injustice, inequality and robbery in Shetland” was also premiered earlier this year.