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'Wholly unjust': Suffolk women devastated by court ruling on pensions

PUBLISHED: 15:23 03 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:23 03 October 2019

WASPI campaigners outside Downing Street in 2018. WASPI have been fighting for compensation as the government raised the pension age for women Picture: Margaret Thompson

WASPI campaigners outside Downing Street in 2018. WASPI have been fighting for compensation as the government raised the pension age for women Picture: Margaret Thompson

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Suffolk politicians and activists have expressed their disappointment to a high court ruling denying women near retirement compensation after the pension age was raised.

The ruling means four million women in the UK will be financially impacted or required to continue working when they would previously have been able claim a government pension.

Caroline Page, the Lib Dem, Green and Independent spokesman for women in Suffolk, described the verdict to deny compensation as "upsetting".

She said: "I am disappointed and disgusted by the ruling. We've been really let down by the decision.

"The government has not given society the chance to adjust to the changes.

"I hope the decision can be challenged - it's wholly unjust."

Women born in the 1950s have been campaigning agaisnt the government's decision to raise the retirement age for women in line with men from 2020.

The high court ruling determined the rise was not discriminatory, and that the women affected would not be entitled to compensation.

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Activist groups such as Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI), of which Ms Page is a member, have been left dissatisfied by Thursday's ruling.

Elaine Patten, a WASPI activist, is continuing to work part-time as a nurse alongside caring for her husband.

She said: "I am not surprised, but I am devastated.

"If I didn't work now, we wouldn't be able to make ends meet.

"The government say there is no discrimination, but there is."

Jules Ewart, a Lib Dem politician from Saxmundham, said the government had failed to consider womens' circumstances when increasing the pension age.

She said: "Retirement is a special time these ladies were looking forward to that has now been taken out of their grasp.
"For ordinary working women to be fighting on this issue, at this age, is unacceptable."

Despite the outcome of the ruling, Mrs Ewart says she has been inspired by the resilience shown by activists such as WASPI members.

She said: "As a woman going into politics, this is really making me want to review pensions.

"I will fight tooth and nail."

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