20,000 Fife women could be hit by pension ruling

More than 20,000 women from Fife could be affected by a High Court ruling rejecting a challenge against controversial changes to the state pension age.

Nearly four million women born between April 6 1950 and April 5 1960 have been affected by the changes, made by successive governments, to raise the state pension age for them from 60 to 66.

Approximately 24,300 in Fife were born within that period, according to the latest population estimates.

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And at least 60 per cent are yet to hit their state pension age, meaning they will still not be in receipt of a state pension.

Initial Government plans would have seen the pension age rise in phases, from 60 in 2010 to 65 in 2020.

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But in 2010, the coalition government accelerated the plans, raising it to 65 in 2018 and 66 by 2020.

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Campaign group Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) argued the changes have caused financial hardship for hundreds of thousands of women, who may struggle to find suitable employment.

Many were not allowed to join private company pension schemes until the 1990s, it said, while others are carers or in poor health.

Two womentook the Department for Work and Pensions to the High Court with the support of campaign group Backto60.

They argued that raising the pension age had unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age and sex, and that they were not given adequate notice of the changes.

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But High Court judges Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple dismissed the claim “on all grounds”.

Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, and deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party said: “We must now find consensus to renew the campaign and work towards a solution - and I’ll continue to support WASPI Scotland and local community groups in any way I can.”

Campaigners have now called on Parliament to intervene on their behalf.