Crucial day for state pension campaigners as High Court prepares to give ruling

The High Court will rule on women's state pension changes today
The High Court will rule on women's state pension changes today

State pension inequality campaigners in the borough will have their eyes on the High Court as it delivers a landmark ruling on the transition arrangements for women.

Campaign group Backto60 took the Government to court, claiming the state pension changes for women are discriminatory and have caused severe financial problems.

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They are seeking repayment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for the years of payments they have missed out on.

And the final word on the judicial review will be delivered today (Thursday).

The courts' view will be eagerly awaited in the borough as both the Wigan and Makerfield and Leigh branches of Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) have been giving full backing to Backto60's legal efforts.

Many local Waspi supporters have made financial contributions to the crowd-funding campaign which helped to make the court case a reality.

The campaign group's arguments were heard in court in London in June with Michael Mansfield QC, known for his work on cases such as Hillsborough and The Birmingham Six, representing Backto60.

The group's call for backdated payments is slightly different to Waspi's aim for fair transitional arrangements.

However, the organisations say the important thing is that they are both raising awareness of the issues facing women born in the 1950s.

Campaigners do not disagree with the idea of bringing the state pension age for women in line with men but object to the way the Government has carried it out, saying it has given nearly four million people no time to make suitable arrangements for their retirements given the altered circumstances.

However, the Government has strongly maintained changes were clearly communicated and rejected the group's arguments about unfair transitions.

Waspi has received considerable political support in the borough, with MPs representing local constituencies speaking up in support of the women and attending awareness-raising events.

Wigan Council is also on board, with Coun Pat Draper having been appointed the town hall's Waspi champion.