Search for Justice: New Podcast on the 50s women struggle for their delayed pensions

BackTo60 at the Royal Courts of Justice before the pandemic set in. They are now applying to appeal to the Supreme Court after losing their judicial review

I have given a long interview to Dave Niven, one of the country’s leading figures on the safeguarding of children, for socialworldpodcast on the issue of justice for the 50swomen. This podcast is aimed at the social work and caring professions and is watched by 2000 people in the field.

Dave contacted me after a gap of over 20 years because he had seen my writing on the plight of the 50s born women and wanted me to do an interview for his podcast. We last collaborated on a story in the 1990s when I was on The Guardian though both of us can’t remember what the story was exactly about.

He now runs his own consultancy, David Niven Associates (info@dnivenassociates.co.uk) which provides media training, and consultancy on child protection and safeguarding.

The podcast can be listened to here. That is the link to his site where you will also find other podcasts.

regular series of podcasts

It is part of a regular series of weekly podcasts on Thoughts on the Social World. Previous people who have been interviewed include Jim Gamble, a former national policing lead for child protection and the architect and CEO of the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre. He is now  CEO of the INEQE Safeguarding Group. http://www.ineqe.com

He also recently interviewed Christopher Lamb, a former Australian ambassador and chief diplomat with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva. He is now an adviser.to IFRC and the Australian Red Cross.

My own interview covers the case I have made on my blog for justice and proper equality for the 50swomen. I also talk about the exposures I did on The Guardian which led to the resignation of Tory ministers Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith over the “cash for questions” scandal in the 1990s and the first resignation of Peter Mandelson from the Labour government over his hidden ” home loan” to buy a posh pad in Notting Hill. And also my award winning story on how the former head of the Student Loans Company devised a scheme for legitimate tax avoidance which led to the government discovering that they had 2500 civil servants doing the same thing.

40 thoughts on “Search for Justice: New Podcast on the 50s women struggle for their delayed pensions

  1. Please get real. The DWP and the Courts are on the same payroll and will never go against original Judgment. The Crown is their paymaster.

    Kicked out twice already.. Third time is by choice. Michael Mansfield has a duty of care to advise against further funding being wasted..it is the lawyers who are going to be better off..not the ladies. Still never too old to learn. Better to cut your losses and save than make further contributions.

    I am not being pessimistic and feel for us ladies but the writing is on the wall here.. Clear as daylight and I hope I am totally wrong and this is only my opinion.

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  2. David how can you not know that women received nic credits for the years they spent bringing up children? 18 of my 41 years of NI contributions were credits / free because I was in receipt of child benefit. When 50s women were bring up their kids they could claim credits until their child left full time education. What uou say in the pod cast is inaccurate

    Liked by 1 person

    • The big difference between the new 2016 pension and the old one is that women AUTOMATICALLY receive NI credits if they are eligible or register for child benefits. Under the old system you had to CLAIM a special allowance, the Home Responsibility Allowance which could not be backdated if you put in a late claim. You obviously knew about the allowance.

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      • David that’s not correct about HRP ( Home Responsibilities Protection – not allowance) as I received 9 years of credits and I didn’t have to claim them. They were automatically awarded to anyone in receipt of Child Benefit. You can see this from this form – scroll down to “Can I get HRP”

        Click to access cf411-notes.pdf

        However it is also important to note that women should check their NI Record as mistakes do happen. I know one woman who noticed that some of her credits were missing and all she did was contact the DWP by letter and it was all sorted out. She was given a further 13 years worth of credits. This was only done last year. Normally this is the only reason that you would have to apply.

        The new system of NI Credits started in April 2010 and replaced the HRP system. At that point your credits were transferred over ( up to a maximum of 22 ). There has been no change in 2016 and has nothing at all to do with the new State Pension.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I take your point about the HRP ( Home Responsibilities Protection) ) claims became automatically included after the change in 2010 – though the government made a big point about automatic NI credits for bringing up children when they launched the new 2016 pension. What I was saying in the podcast was that years before that in the 1980s and 1990s you did have to CLAIM it. Women would be well advised to check their NI record when they get their pension that it has been automatically included from 1978.

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      • In the podcast you said at 3.40. “…for women, their employment was often part-time and they also took time out for childcare as well. As a result the contributions they made were not the same as men, there were gaps. So unlike the modern pension that’s been introduced since 2016, there was no provision whatsoever for contributions while they were bringing up children.”

        So clearly you now accept there was some provision, that is Home Responsibilities Protection, (not Allowance) introduced by Labour in 1978.

        However my main purpose in writing concerns your answer to Judi above which I believe is incorrect and may deter women from investigating the backdating of HRP. Anybody in this position should claim, if necessary after taking advice from a reputable advisor. You can read more using this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-insurance-application-form-for-home-responsibilities-protection-cf411

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry but you are wrong. I was given NIC credits from 1978 onwards and they were automatic. I did not have to claim them. I received them automatically because I was in receipt of child benefit

        Liked by 1 person

      • No I don’t need too. My interview was in general terms about 1950s women missing out while they had children not about the detail of whether you could claim or got credits automatically.
        In fact it STRENGTHENS my case for 50s women against other groups. To qualify for a NI credit if you were born in 1950 you would have to be 28 before you got any credits Many women at the time had children in their early 20s ( careers were not automatically considered for women then) or even as teenagers. So they would not have benefited from the full ni credits as they weren’t available until 1978.
        Women born in the 1960s unless they were teen brides would have got the lot.
        So yet another example why women in the 1950s were disadvantaged, I am afraid, even though you won’t want to agree.

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      • David a woman born in 1950 would have received her state pension at 60, a full 5 years earlier than a man born the same day

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      • I’ve read through your blog and listened to your podcast but I’m not sure I agree with your conclusions

        I was born in 1952 and received my state pension in 2014. I started work in 1967 at the age of 15. My 2 children were born in 1972 and 1974. I missed out on credits at the start but got credits from 1978 to 1992 as initially I didn’t work then only worked part time jobs but didn’t pay NI. Then from 1992 to 2014 I was working. In total I had 42 years NICs and I only required 30 years to get a full Basic State pension. Missing out on 6 years made no difference and would be the case for many of us early born 50s’ women.

        My sister was born in 1956. First child in 1980 so received HRP right from the start. So far between credits (13 of them) and work she has 48 years NICs with 2 years still to go till SPA. She’s working still so probably will have 50 years even though she didn’t work at all for 13 years whilst the kids were small. She only needs 35 years so has more than enough.

        Most of our 50s’ friends have well over 40 years with a mix of credits and paying NI. The women that have missed out more were all born before 1950 and needed 39 years to get a full basic state pension. Yes they got it at 60 but very few managed to get 39 years.

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  3. I have had my doubts for a while that for Back to 60 to continue chasing justice for us on the grounds of Discrimination maybe the wrong thing to do, even though on the face of it it was Discrimination. It does seem that this particular horse has now been flogged to death. To then go ahead to The Supreme Court citing the same old arguments I feel will get us nowhere. I appreciate David’s comments regarding why we haven’t heard from Back to 60 since the failed Appeal in September and that the Lawyers will be making plans to make the next step. What would make me feel better about all this would be that the Lawyers new plans are different than before. I look forward to the next communication from Back to 60 as to which way this campaign will now go forward. The failure of the September Appeal was such a demoralizing event that we all need to get some news that will restore our faith in all this.

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    • I think you may have misunderstood the system. If BT60 apply to the Supreme Court to appeal what has happened in the lower courts, the arguments will all be exactly the same as it’s not a new hearing. Just like the Court of Appeal was to appeal the initial JR Judgement, the Supreme Court would look to see if the Court of Appeal got it wrong.

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  4. @David Hencke

    Looks like a bit of my reply wasn’t included. You did not have to claim HRP if you were in receipt of Child Benefit from 1978 to 2010 as it was automatically awarded if in receipt of Child Benefit. Please read the link in Peter Hartt’s reply to you as this form clearly says;

    Can I get HRP
    If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2010 you may be able to get HRP
    retrospectively for complete tax years between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 2010
    subject to time limits, if you were:
    • looking after someone as a carer for 35 hours or more per week
    • an approved foster parent or foster / kinship carer (Scotland) – for tax years from
    6 April 2003 to 5 April 2010. You must have been an approved foster carer or
    kinship carer (Scotland) for the whole of the tax year (6 April to 5 April)
    For more information go to http://www.hmrc.gov.uk

    You will have received HRP automatically if between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 2010,

    you were awarded:

    • Child Benefit, for a child under 16

    • Income Support because you were looking after a sick or disabled person and were

    not available for work
    Important: You will still need to apply for HRP if you think that it is missing from your National Insurance account. See “How to apply” on page 2.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the advice you are quoting comes from a form according to check I have made with gov.uk that was updated in 2019 and originally issued in 2014. If you don’t have to claim at all why does a HMRC claim form exist – there is no need for one, if you are correct. There were certainly claim forms in the 1980s and 1990s and rules that you could not backdate a claim either.

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      • The last sentence makes it clear why you may have to claim.

        “Important: You will still need to apply for HRP if you think that it is missing from your National Insurance account. See “How to apply” on page 2.”

        I can assure you that I did not have to claim my HRP credits and they were applied to my NI account automatically. From reading what other women have been saying on Facebook, none of them had to apply either.

        This was written in 2007 and says it was automatic. Could you give a link to the rules that say you can not backdate a claim please?

        https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-1616017/Womens-pensions-Home-Responsibilities-Protection.html

        Liked by 1 person

      • There is a full history of pensions here. See https://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn105.pdf
        I will concede that if you were in full time work and then looking after children you shd get it automatically after 1978. But if you already had children before 1978 you got nothing for those years and also if you were paying reduced stamps in 1977 you didn’t qualify for future years. I suspect quite a number of women were still affected by this. The backdating restriction in 2002 referred to people having to care for disabled people.

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      • I can confirm that you can backdate a claim. I would advise everyone to send for their nic record and check they received all the credits they were entitled to.
        David you really should check facts before putting incorrect information out. Women are confused enough without being misled

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad that you now accept that anyone in receipt of Child Benefit received HRP automatically as I have said.

        Yes there will be some 50s’ women who started their family before 1978 and may have missed out on some years of HRP but most of them probably reached SPA before 2016 when only 30 years were required. Yes there will also be some who chose to pay the Married Woman’s small stamp even after it was abolished and who weren’t eligible for HRP but then they were entitled to claim on the husband’s NICs. Anyone who married from April 1977 onwards couldn’t choose to pay the small stamp.

        To be honest though, you only have to read the many posts on Facebook pension groups to see that most 50s’ women are actually complaining because they have well in excess of 35 years so I honestly don’t think there are many who haven’t got enough NICs.

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      • Difficult to tell. I have had people contacting me to say to get their full pension they have been told they would need to pay a few thousand pounds to qualify. They say they havc the money to pay. Also the average figure for the present male and female pension shows the money paid to women is lower than men.

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      • David if you actually ask those that say they are short of contributions you will find that it’s not that they have less than 35 years, but that they have been contracted out. Their state pension will be lower than the full new state pension because they paid a lower rate of NI and their additional pension will be paid as part of their private/occupational pension instead. However they have been told, correctly, that their state pension will increase if they contribute further. I’m in that position with 45 years NICs but I still don’t get the full new state pension. I couldn’t understand why not until a very helpful person at the DWP explained it all to me. He even explained that 30 years were enough for me as 2 calculations were done in 2016 to see which was better for me and it turned out to be the old rules.

        The transitional rules are quite complicated but it’s important to try to understand.

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      • Yes the system is enormously complicated. My own state pension ( which is an old style one) contains both opt outs and opt ins and is almost impossible to fathom. No wonder people have been confused even if they are getting the new pension.

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      • Do you really mean opt out/opt in (which means choosing to pay or not to pay into an occupational pension) or do you mean contract out/contract in?

        The old system was very complicated with the additional pension parts (SERPS/S2P) but it’s the main reason why men receive more state pension than women as they generally paid much more NI and for longer periods. Basic state pension would be the same for anyone, male or female, with the maximum required years for the time period. However the more NI you paid, the more earnings related pension you received.

        The eventual biggest winners of the new state pension will be those on lower earnings ( or even credits) and the biggest losers will be those who earned more.

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  5. It is 42 years since 1978 – almost an entire working life. Even if someone was contracted out during most of those 42 years, they’d still by now have been entitled to the max nSP.

    So what evidence do you have that quite a number of women are still affected, how many are quite a number, and how are they affected?

    Wouldn’t it be better if you just graciously accepted that you were wrong when you took Miffy Opeldus by her word, and that the entire auto-credit “issue” doesn’t actually exist?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. David,
    Auto credits as introduced by Thatcher from a time of high unemployment and offered to men initially from age 60 are looked at longingly by some.
    With the pandemic likely to cause high unemployment again do you think a reintroduction of such a scheme for both men and women along the same lines as before would be a good thing?
    Im thinking say from the age of 60 no-one would have to go through the hoops of searching for work and they of course would receive auto credits and be able to retire early, just like men did previously.

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  7. David,

    what a sensational summary of the whole scenario. Do sad. So infuriating. So spiteful. So unnecessary. ‘No money’ is just a lie; men had 35 years access to Pension autocredits whilst women were going to get it but it was stopped by UK Govt-no ‘full discussions’ in Parliament about that inequality or discrimination that there was no money for women but money on money for men. All UK Govts since 1995 should feel ashamed of how they have ignored women. Thank you David. You are legendary.

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  8. Going off at a bit of a tangent here, so sorry for that. But I listened to the National News yesterday and reading one of the Breaking News flashes at the bottom of the screen I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
    The BMA are now recommending that medical quality masks now be provided for vulnerable groups, over 60’s. God, it beggars belief!!! Where was the BMA in March when the WHO were stating that ‘vulnerable’ started at 60?
    If there was ever a time when Temporary Special Measures were in place to protect us, surely it is NOW! Pay us our EARNED DUES and then at least the 50’s Women wouldn’t feel compelled to try and find work or stay in the jobs they have. I feel that this Government is now not only incompetent, but dangerously incompetent. Down here in Devon things are still relatively safe (is that is even possible?) but my heart goes out to the people living in the North West. I would bet some of my ever dwindling funds on Johnson throwing these poor souls to the wolves.
    Do your best to stay as safe as you can everyone.

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    • Laura, like you I live in Devon and feel relatively safe. I agree that other places currently are less safe but who knows when that might change.
      However I cannot accept that now is the time to give an early pension to women only due to the pandemic. Men in their 60’s are perhaps more vulnerable to this virus and are still working in all sectors.

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    • The mask question is interesting. The Global Investigative Journalist Network had a webinar on Covid-19. It turned out that before the pandemic there had been no research whatsoever into the effectiveness of the mundane mask because no one had funded it. Obviously it is used by surgeons when performing operations but no one had thought about its general use. It sounds like to me that finally someone has tried to evaluate the use of masks and the BMA have finally got a view

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  9. Yes David, I was quite pleased and surprised when the BMA seemed to have rediscovered their voice. Unfortunately when I watched the news that day, to the end of the programme, no further mention was made regarding the content of the ‘breaking news’ flash. Neither have I heard anything since. It would have been interesting to learn more details, especially as there was an apparent admission on over 60’s being vulnerable. Obviously more in line with what the WHO has been saying since March and who’s advice regarding this age group has been disregarded by this Gov. In my opinion an institution like the BMA, during this Pandemic, should have been heard from long before now, but things seems to have fallen silent again.

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