Last reviewed 15 September 2020

The Court of Appeal judgment in the case of The Queen (oao Delve and Glynn) (Appellants) v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Respondent) has been described by a leading trade union as a disaster for women born in the 1950s.

UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: “For a generation of women, this is nothing short of a disaster. Raising the state pension age with next to no notice has had a calamitous effect on their retirement plans. Those on lower incomes have been left in dire straits, struggling to make ends meet with precious little support from the Government.”

Available at https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Delve-and-Glynn-v-SSWP-judgment.pdf, the Court ruling relates to a case brought by Julie Delve and Karen Glynn, backed by campaign group BackTo60, after they lost a High Court dispute with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2019.

The two women challenged the changes brought about by a series of Pensions Acts between 1995 and 2014 which equalised the state pension age for women with that of men by raising the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 and then raised the age at which both men and women can claim their state pension.

A woman born before 6 April 1950 would still receive her state pension at age 60 but a woman born after that date would only receive her pension on a specified date when she was aged between 60 and 65, depending on her date of birth.

The Pensions Acts 2007, 2011 and 2014 then accelerated the move to age 65 as the state pension age for women and raised the state pension age for some men and women to 66, 67 or 68 depending on their date of birth.

The two women accepted that one of the aims of the Pensions Act 1995 was to end the discrimination based on gender that had previously allowed women to claim their pension five years earlier than men but argued that this equalisation has run ahead of actual improvements in the economic position of women in their age group.

The Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed their appeal.

The ruling states: “Despite the sympathy that we, like the members of the Divisional Court, 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.”