“IT was unbelievable” – Redditch woman Judy Phillips has spoken of her joy after a High Court judge granted permission to bring a judicial review against the government for raising the pension age for 3.5million women born in the 1950s.
Judy, from Church Hill, was there at the Royal Courts of Justice last Friday when the Honourable Ms Justice Lang made the ruling.
Judy, a member of the Back to 60 campaign group, had travelled to London for the hearing and afterwards joined the battle bus packed with celebrating women on a tour of Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament.
Throughout their lives the campaigning women, all born in the 1950s, had anticipated they would start receiving their State Pensions at 60.
However, a 1995 Act of Parliament raised their pensionable age to 65 in line with men. This has since been extended further.
Many women were told of the change just 18 months before they were expecting to receive their pensions and others received no notification at all.
Top barristers Michael Mansfield and Catherine Rayner argued the government’s decision was both age and gender discrimination.
It was claimed the decision had been driven by a desire to save money with the women affected losing more than £5billion as a result.
Julian Milford for the government admitted the measure had been to cut costs but it was also about equalling the pension age between men and women.
“When the ruling came we couldn’t believe it,” said Judy, who believes pension ages should be equal, but the women affected should have been given more notice by the government.
“The women in the front row didn’t know whether to shout out or cry and I think the government’s barrister was surprised when the ruling came.”
The judge gave Mr Milford 42 days to prepare a new case against the decision.
“We were all singing and dancing.
We all visited the statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett as without the courage of people like her we would not have been able to fight our corner today.”
For more on Back to 60, visit www.backto60.com.