My evidence to the CEDAW in LAW Tribunal this month on the egregious plight of 50s women and their lost pensions

Giving evidence to CEDAW in LAW tribunal

Earlier this month I gave evidence to a tribunal set up by CEDAW in LAW presided over by Australian judge Jocelynne Scutt on the situation affecting 3.8 million women who have had to wait an extra six years to get their pension.

My evidence tries to explain how this situation came about going back to 1988 when the government decided to end Treasury contributions (except when the fund was in the red) to the National Insurance Fund starving it of money to pay out pensions. Given pensions are paid out of current contributions the fund would have built up a very healthy surplus – enough for both higher pensions for everybody later and avoided the current raising of the pension age. Given the UK has one of the lowest state pensions in Europe this would have been a very good improvement.

My evidence also showed how successive governments failed to properly tell the women affected how they would lose their pensions for five and later six years under the 1995, 2008 and 2011 Pensions Acts.

And it reveals how men were treated differently after Margaret Thatcher in 1983 decided to pay the national insurance contributions for men from 60 to 65 to keep them from claiming unemployment benefits. This lasted until 2018 and was available for 9.8 million men. Women born in the 1950s were promised this from 2010 but it was never implemented.

Failure to remedy

Also I strongly criticise the failure to remedy this in both the courts and through the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The Supreme Court would not hear the case and Robert Behrens, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, has given half hearted support to maladministration claims for part of the period. On top of that the All Party Parliamentary Group on state pension inequality has been ineffective, relying on the Ombudsman to present the women’s case rather than directly intervening as MPs to pressurise the government.

The tribunal also heard from a number of women who described the devastating effect this wait had on their lives and from Elgun Safarov, the vice chairperson of the United Nations Convention of the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women Committee.

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15 thoughts on “My evidence to the CEDAW in LAW Tribunal this month on the egregious plight of 50s women and their lost pensions

  1. Thankyou. Wise words. I’m one of those 3.5 million living hand to mouth, working a manual job trying to get by. My stamp was not paid by the government so my State Pension is a miserly 307.00 per month, my exhusband on the other hand has a full state pension, an untouched private pension and a wealth of investments and inheritance. And all this was about equality.


  2. Please note that those born on and after 6th April 1960 have to wait even more than 6 years, so this is not just an issue for 1950s born women.
    It deprives people of time – there is no guarantee that everybody is living longer.


  3. Dear David Hencke,

    It was the 2007 pension act that rose pension age still further to 66, 67 and 68.

    The 2007 pension act was modified in 2008.

    2011 pension act modified them both.

    There is no pension campaign for the 1960s born, with pension age 67 (1995, 2007 and 2014 pension acts) whose only hope is pension age 60 back.

    No pension campaign group is asking for pension age 60, despite us all signing the near 1m signature petition for women’s pension age to revert to 60. It was given in by the BackTo60 people, but all parties, government or opposition benches, ignored it.

    No unelected parties unravels the discrimination against women from age 50 and never have offered those Grey Vote policies.

    The only campaign for pension 60 is Grey Swans pension group, seeking the volunteer political admin to bring our new Over 50s (saves all ages) party into existence, to run against Tory, Labour and Lib Dems, which is possible to win against into government in next general election, as the public are voting differently in the by-election for single MP jobs.

    The party is fully oven ready to run in the next general election, with published manifesto, gained by unused election manifestos and the Grey Vote policies from the lived experiences of us 1950s ladies.


    • Dear Grey Swans, I am not on Facebook (also many over 50s do not have access to the internet) so I am using David’s page to reply to you (sorry David). You have some great ideas and I would vote for you (if changes were made to your manifesto), but you need to tone down some of the more daft suggestions and remove the financial amounts mentioned which look like pie in the sky to me (although I said that about Corbyn’s manifesto and it turned out the money was there all along given what we now know about government spending during Covid). You need to tell people how you plan to fund some of this and lose the dictatorial tones (she said dictatorily). Also, why would you want to close the BBC – this is not Putin’s Russia. Good luck.


      • The manifesto is already written for ages below 40 and policies beyond National Insurance and state pension, being unused election manifestos drawn up with the help of senior civil servants.

        The policies around National Insurance Fund are from pension experts, some of whom wrote for the National Pensioners Convention over decades.

        The amount of state pension pledged, is what it would have reached had:
        – basic state pension had the prior version of triple lock kept since 1974, which was stopped by Tory and Labour alike between 1980 and 2010, and
        – the state second pension from 1975 (stopped for most women and half of men since 1978 and now butchering the new flat rate state pension).
        – The finance world worked that out.

        The amount of state pension is just below the real living wage true rate from the Living Wage Foundation’s London rate.

        So there are no daft suggestions, because politics is the art of the possible, with policies that were done in the past and now lost.

        Manifestos pledges don’t need to be funded, as no UK government has bothered about the cost of the foreign wars, costing millions in just bombs, in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, all entire wastes of money. So there is a magic money tree, which you rightly observe about Covid furlough etc spending. It is an economic system called QE.

        When Nye Bevan began the NHS in 1948, that was the most implausible pledge from government budget, but now we cannot do without the NHS, so which part of the NHS policies do you call ‘daft suggestions’?

        All I need to know, is which policies directly affect you, please?

        All media, never mind BBC, would be shut down and restarted, as we have more censorship than North Korea, being as mainstream media is entirely and only Tory politics, which is against us 1950s to 1980s ladies specifically, as an example. In other countries, they have laws where each party equally speaks on television, with full right of reply. No new parties (and there have been many) gets a fair hearing, even during elections.

        So the manifesto is fully written, from previous published election manifestos, and from learning our lived experiences of all the shit done against us 1950s ladies, gained by campaigning between us, since 2013 start of losing half a decade of state pension from age 60.

        It is not dictatorship, but keeping to previous government policies done and worked, keeping to published election manifestos, and keeping to what is known by us 1950s, now 1960s born ladies.

        Manifestos are a party’s script, and have to exist before a party can come into existence, by gaining the volunteer political admin, so they know what the script is.

        You have no interest in politics, just like rest of public. Your only interest is policies, as observed by a philosopher Gandhi, that peoples’ politics are their daily bread.


  4. Theft, plain and simple, if a private company misappropriated money paid in by its members it could be prosecuted and held to account. This is a national scandal.


  5. Very clearly conveyed to the Judge, David. Thanks. This bit you put in writing says it all:: “And it reveals how men were treated differently after Margaret Thatcher in 1983 decided to pay the national insurance contributions for men from 60 to 65 to keep them from claiming unemployment benefits. This lasted until 2018 and was available for 9.8 million men. Women born in the 1950s were promised this from 2010 but it was never implemented.”


  6. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is subject to much criticism. Approximately 80% if his caseload is health related. I am not surprised that you consider he has only given ‘half hearted support’. Many people who complain to him about the NHS and Government Departments get no support at all. PHSO Trust Pilot tells your followers all they need to know about this failing quango. We must face the fact that having ineffective investigations and scrutiny of wrongdoing in public office is exactly what politicians of any colour want. Time for you to take an ‘in depth’ look at PHSO David. Thank you fo continuing to highlight such important cases.


  7. Thank you David for your tireless work , support , help and care.
    Let’s hope that CEDAW can advance this as soon as possible
    with best wishes
    J Rieg


  8. Thank you very much for your work. I am so disheartened by my situation as one of the women affected. I had no idea about the changes to state pension entitlement until I saw it on Twitter!
    No letter or notification of any kind. I carry this hurt and anger but I feel that nobody in power is listening.
    This was never about equality, we still don’t have that. It was a money grab, theft pure and simple.
    No excuses for this.


  9. I am so impressed that you are still seeing this through. Thank you for all your efforts David. I would suggest that you run for Paliiament but you clearly have too much integrity!


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