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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Decision to back ex wife by three male judges is greeted with surprise by The Sun and the Daily Mail who were sympathetic to a ” millionaire left penniless “.
This month the Court of Appeal took a rather extraordinary decision to award virtually all the money made by a business couple to his wife after being told a harrowing tale that she had been driven into huge debt caused by continual litigation from the husband and his mother.
Charmaine Le Souza was awarded £1.73m and a disputed £2.3 million condominium in Florida by the Court of Appeal. Her husband was left with £26,000.
Her husband who changed his name to Richard Rothschild in 2016 – he is not related to the Rothschild banking family- was said in the court to have spent nearly £1m in litigation to try to prevent his wife getting the whole business or the apartment forcing her into £900.000 debt – which are rising at £7000 a month with interest.
He was backed by his 76 year old mother, Wanda. who took an active role in pursuing his wife after her son moved in with a young former Playboy model, Sherra Michelle.
Mr Rothschild – original name Richard Pierzchalo-Piasecki – and Mrs de Souza got together at university in 1995 and had been married for 16 years. They have two children aged 9 and 13.
They married in 2005 and separated, in what the judge described as “highly acrimonious circumstances”, in 2016. The judge treated “the relationship as one of 21 years with the quality of the relationship premarriage being indistinguishable from that post-marriage”.
Their two children were said to have “suffered grievously as a result of the breakdown of the marriage”.
What followed was three years of ” destructive litigation ” against the wife including a claim dismissed by a judge that the mother owned the business and even proceedings under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention after the husband abducted the children from Florida to England just after his wife had moved to America with her family.
Her lawyer told the court that the mother and husband lost successive cases but never paid any of the costs, never let the houses they owned in London, never took a job for three years, went on a spending spree to use up assets. Last December a family court judge ruled that the wife should get the business worth £1.85m and the properties in London and he should keep the £2.3 million apartment in Florida. But he laid down conditions that he should pay £225,000 to his ex wife in lieu of her getting her share, If he didn’t the property would be sold and the money given to his ex wife.
When both parties got to court on July it was discovered that he had transferred the flat to his mother without telling his or her lawyers in defiance of the court order.
The appeal was nearly cancelled as a result but went ahead and the three judges ruled that he should have less than he was awarded last December.
The judges argued that given she had a mountain of legal debt to pay off as a result of his actions and they didn’t believe he would contribute financially to the upbringing of his children when they were back in Florida – the award was not as generous as it looked. The business which was successful would provide her with a living.
Meanwhile he intends to marry the young model. She defended him after the case blaming unfair courts in the UK for his downfall.
She commented in the Daily Mail: “Rich and I are getting married no matter what. I stuck by him through all of these legal battles and I am here to stay. We have a real Soulmate connection that is pure and genuine. Rich is a born entrepreneur and he will always take care of his family and the ones he loves. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be with someone as kind, intelligent, handsome, loyal and good-hearted as Rich. Thank you to all of my friends and fans who see our true love for what it is and have supported us since day one. Charmaine we hope you find happiness soon too and stop punishing your children. Not letting Rich see his kids for 3 years is unacceptable.”
The ruling by the judges however will go into case law – and does suggest that in future women will get more than just a half share of the assets -if the man spends three years in vindictive litigation against the woman.
One of the biggest issues about funding future state pensions and the incessant demands for raising the pension age is the fact that we are all going to live longer. This ministers argue is going to be too expensive for new generations paying into the national insurance fund and therefore retirement should continue to rise, possibly eventually to 75.
This argument was used ruthlessly by the Department for Work and Pensions in the judicial review against the appellants supported by the BackTo60 campaign for not compensating any of the 3.8 million women who have seen their pension age rise from 60 to 66.
To justify this ministers always quote figures up to 2011. The reason why they use this year as a comparator is that it was last year of any big rise in longevity which had risen for decades.
Since then the rise has flattened – in one year it actually fell – and last year was the first in five years that showed a small rise. Next year the ONS is warning will be the first year they will have figures of the effects of Covid-19 – and the hint is that longevity will fall because of the disproportionate deaths among pensioners.
The figures released by the ONS in this report yesterday cover three years from 2017 to 2019 – which statisticians say is more reliable than taking one year in isolation.
As you can see from this graph from the report illustrates longevity has largely flatlined. Women still live longer than men – but the greatest beneficiaries of rising longevity have been men. They are steadily catching up with women and the report wonders whether the huge drop in men smoking and moves from manual and agricultural work to less physical work in the office or behind a computer is the reason for this.
The report says: “Following decades of steady increases in life expectancy in the UK, a marked slowdown in the rate of improvements has been observed since 2011. Between 2002 to 2004 and 2009 to 2011, life expectancy at birth in the UK increased each year by an average of 16.7 weeks for males and 12.7 weeks for females. In contrast, between 2010 to 2012 and 2017 to 2019, these improvements slowed to an average of 6.3 weeks and 4.2 weeks per year for males and females respectively.”
The report also reveals another startling fact. When you compare the UK to many other developed countries both men and women have lost out big time in the longevity stakes. The countries that make up the UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland) are all near the bottom of the table only beaten by the United States.
Top of the league is fast growing South Korea followed by Denmark, Norway and Finland. The figures are for the number of extra weeks people can expect to live – comparing 2018 with 2011. Note again with the exception of Wales and the USA men have been the biggest gainers not women.
So while we all are being expected to wait longer for our pension in the UK, our extra weeks of life expectancy fall well below many comparable developed countries. We are being cheated – or at least not given the full facts – by our political leaders. So don’t believe any facile claims we have a world beating system for pensioners. Far from it.
Now the figures for this small rise in longevity are not uniform throughout the UK.
The lowest regional life expectancy for both males and females in 2017 to 2019 was observed in the North East; the North East’s life expectancy at birth was also lower than in the countries of Wales and Northern Ireland but higher than in Scotland.
Males living in the four most southerly regions of England had life expectancies at birth exceeding 80 years, whereas regions of the midlands and the north fell short of 80 years; London exceeded the North East region by almost three years.
Women live longest in the Outer Hebrides
The largest local area increase in life expectancy between 2009 to 2011 and 2017 to 2019 for males at birth was in Westminster, while for females it was in Scotland’s council area of Na h-Eileanan Siar. ( better known as the Outer Hebrides).
Live longer in London, die sooner in Blackpool
The statisticians comment:
“The rate of growth in life expectancy in London continues to surpass that occurring in other regions and the constituent countries of the UK. This has resulted in London now having the highest life expectancy for both males and females among regions in England.
“Four of the top five local areas with the highest male life expectancy in 2017 to 2019 were London boroughs, while three were for females. Since 2001 to 2003 traditional deprived parts of London such as Tower Hamlets, Newham and Hackney have seen strong gains in life expectancy over the time series. In fact, 17 of the top 20 local areas with the strongest growth in male life expectancy since 2001 to 2003 were London boroughs. This contrasts with Ceredigion where male life expectancy has only grown by 0.8 years since 2001 to 2003. These patterns add to the growing inequality observed across different areas of the UK over the past decade.”
This is heightened by other observations :
“Overall, for the UK, the difference was 11.3 years between Westminster, with the highest life expectancy at birth, and Glasgow City, with the lowest.
” For females, the local area gap in life expectancy at birth in England was 7.7 years between Westminster (87.2 years) and Blackpool (79.5 years), meaning Blackpool was the lowest in England for males and females. In Scotland, the gap stood at 5.5 years between East Renfrewshire (84.0 years) and Glasgow City (78.5 years). “
These findings must call into question whether there should be such a rush to raise the pension age – since the UK is both lagging behind other countries in life expectancy, has a huge inequality between the prosperous South and London and the North East ( Red Wall MPs please note). Finally the DWP is misrepresenting what is happening – both in its evidence to the judicial review over the raising of the pension age for women and to the nation as a whole. Longer life expectancy is tailing off not growing anywhere near the rate it did when decisions were made to raise the pension age.
Lawyers for Backto60 and the two complainants decided today to apply to the Supreme Court for permission to bring their case to the highest court in the UK.
The decision was taken after two of the Judges in the Court of Appeal, who heard their case, Lord Justice Sir Nicholas Underhill and Lady Justice Dame Vivien Rose, refused permission for them to go to the Supreme Court.
Applicants are allowed to go to the Supreme Court directly to plead their case to be heard if they are turned down by the Court of Appeal.
The decision was announced by Joanne Welch, the founder of Back to 60, appropriately during an interview with the BBC radio programme Woman’s Hour.
The decision comes after the Court of Appeal comprehensively rejected their case in a judgement announced on Tuesday. The judges ruled that the first judge , Ms Justice Lang, should not have allowed the judicial review to go ahead because it was a long time after the 1995 Act raising the pension age for women was passed. They agreed with the arguments put forward by Sir James Eadie, the Treasury Counsel, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions that they had been adequately consulted about the rise in the pension age from 60 to 65 announced in 1995 and later extended to 66 under the Pensions Act in 2011.
Some 3.8 million women were affected by the change which Michael Mansfield, Henrietta Hill and Adam Straw, argued amounted to both direct and indirect age and sex discrimination and had led to women born in the 1950s being driven into poverty and ill health. This was rejected by the judge, chaired by Sir Terence Etherton, Master of the Rolls.
Joanne Welch told Woman’s Hour “I know that Julie Delve and Karen Glynn have been actively considering next steps. I believe that they are going to go ahead with an application for permission to have this heard in the Supreme Court”.
Plans to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case are now being drawn up by the legal team after Joanne Welch confirmed that the decision was taken at a meeting today.
I have spent this morning reading the 21,000 word judgement of the Court of Appeal led by the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton.
For the faint hearted I warn you this will make grim reading. But I think the women who have fought so hard to get their pensions back need to be properly informed about the logic used by the judges to come to their decision. It doesn’t mean I agree with it.
Their judgement will cause widespread misery and angst for the women themselves and total delight for the government, ministers, the Department for Work and Pensions and the small number of vocal detractors, mainly from the financial advice and private pensions industry, who didn’t want the women to get a penny.
Appeal on four grounds
The appeal was on four main grounds each of which were dismissed by the judges. Since it is a judicial review it depended a lot on case law which ranged from an immigration case, the bedroom tax, to a sex change case and to EU law and the Convention of Human Rights. It even included a novel way of approaching the law to consultation from Michael Mansfield QC.
To a lay person the case law might sound bizarre but the aim of the lawyers representing the women is to draw out rulings from these diverse set of cases to benefit the cause of the 50swomen to get their money back.
The four grounds for appeal were age discrimination according to an article from the European Convention of Human Rights; indirect sex discrimination or sex/age discrimination;notification and delay.
On the first case the judges rejected it. – citing they could not overrule an Act of Parliament.
“Despite that evidence and despite the sympathy that we, like the members of the Divisional Court, feel for the Appellants and other women in their position, we are satisfied that this is not a case where the court can interfere with the decisions taken through the Parliamentary process. “
They did concede that women got lower state pensions than men.
Women pensioners’ life expectancy – a strain on public fiances
“DWP figures in August 2018 for the mean weekly amount of state pension for men was £158.87 and for women £131.27. Though they may have shorter life expectancy, men will still receive much more state pension than women even taking into account that women live for two years longer. That does not, however, undermine the point that the SSWP [ Secretary of State for DWP] makes that longer life expectancy for women places a strain on public finances,(my emphasis) even if they would have received a lower pension over the years 60 – 65 than a man would receive.”
They rejected the indirect and age/ sex discrimination saying any EU directives allowing a differential age for men and women were a temporary measure.
women carry out 60 per cent more unpaid work than men
The judges note the argument that 50s women are hard done by. They quote facts” that women carry out an average of 60 per cent more unpaid work than men; 86 per cent of single parents are women and single parents have a higher risk of poverty than any other household type. In the 50 – 64 year old age group, women are much more likely to give up work than men because of caring responsibilities. The Appellants submit that it is therefore indirectly discriminatory, subject to the question of justification, for the state pension to be withdrawn from them because their gender adversely affected their ability to earn a living.”
But they recoil from accepting the arguments for fear that a victory would lead to a flood of new demands from other groups.
“it becomes clear what a significant expansion of the law would result from such a broad application … It is undoubtedly the case that many groups have traditionally suffered discrimination in the workplace because their protected characteristic meant that there were fewer opportunities open to them for advancement in stable, well-paid work. That is the case not only for women but for disabled people, for lone parents, for some BME groups and for transgender people.”
They conclude that the state pension is a universal not a means tested benefit therefore it should not be used to right problems caused by discrimination – that should be left to other measures in the political field.
“In our judgement.. there is no sufficient causal link here between the withdrawal of the state pension from women in the age group 60 to 65 and the disadvantage caused to that group. The fact that poorer people are likely to experience a more serious adverse effect from the withdrawal of the pension and that groups who have historically been the victims of discrimination in the workplace are more likely to be poor does not make it indirectly discriminatory to apply the same criterion for eligibility to everyone.”
DWP gave ” adequate and reasonable notification”
On consultation they buy the argument from the DWP that there was enough consultation going back to 1991 when the pension age change was first debated and they cast doubt on even sending a direct mail to everyone on the grounds that people might not read it anyway..
” We therefore dismiss Ground 3 of the appeal on the basis that there was no duty to notify those affected by the change in state pension age and that the Divisional Court were entitled to conclude as a fact that there has been adequate and reasonable notification given by the publicity campaigns implemented by the Department over a number of years.”
Criticism of Ms Justice Lang
Finally they condemn Ms Justice Lang for allowing the judicial review in the first place on the grounds that it was already out of time.
They castigate her for extending the time limit.
“Unlawful legislation is not a continuing unlawful act in the sense that the time limit for challenging it by way of judicial review rolls forward for as long as the legislation continues to apply. If that were the test, there would effectively be no time limit for challenging primary or secondary legislation or for that matter administrative conduct which continues to affect a claimant unless or until the action is withdrawn or revised.”
Lawyers for BackTo60 have asked the judges for permission to appeal their judgement.
Their judgement today shows what a big struggle it is to convince people of their case but it doesn’t meant it is wrong to fight this injustice for 3.8 million people.
Aim is to write the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW] into UK domestic law.
Nearly 40 years ago Margaret Thatcher signed the UK up to the UN convention to end all discrmination against women but successive Tory, Labour and coalition governments have never passed the convention in British law.
Now in an age when the Boris Johnson led Tory government is trying to renege on international law agreements during European Union negotiations and opt out of parts of the European Convention on Human Rights it will face the wrath of women and girls who feel they have been treated as second class citizens for too long in the UK.
The movement has grown out of the far too long campaign by BackTo60 to get women born in the 1950s compensation for the loss of their pensions from the age of 60 which will be decided at a Court of Appeal hearing on Tuesday on grounds of discrimination.
The issue of inequality under CEDAW was an issue in the court case – but because it is not part of British domestic law – it is difficult issue to argue.
Now it looks like with real support from international figures and human rights lawyers that the Conservative government is going to face a campaign that will make the BackTo60 fight look like a sideshow.
It will begin with the setting up of a People’s Tribunal under John Cooper QC and renowned human rights lawyer who was Chair of the International Steering Committee and Prosecutor at the Iran Tribunal in The Hague and is named by The Times as one of the top 100 lawyers in the country.
Now he is joined by three international experts. One is Andrew Byrnes, Professor of Law of Law at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, where he served as Chair of the Australian Human Rights Centre from 2005 to 2017.
He is an expert on both People’s Tribunals and CEDAW . With Gabrielle Simm (a senior law lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney) he recently published the edited collection Peoples’ tribunals and international law (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and forthcoming publications includes chapters on the work of the UN Committee on the Discrimination against Women and the UN Committee against Torture, as well as the protection of economic and social rights through the parliamentary process.
He also was involved in the drafting of the CEDAW Optional Protocol, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and is working with the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions in current UN discussions about a possible new convention on the human rights of older persons.
The second international expert who will join the advocacy team is Meghan Campbell, an Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham and Deputy Director of the Oxford Human Rights Hub. Her monograph, Women, Poverty, Equality: The Role of CEDAW (Hart 2018) was shortlisted for the Socio-Legal Scholars Association-Early Career Research Prize. The bookoffers an interpretation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to demonstrate how equality and non-discrimination can address the harms of gender-based poverty.
The third international expert is Professor Christine Chinkin CMG FBA is Professorial Research Fellow in the Centre for Women, Peace and Security, where she leads three major projects: ‘A Feminist International Law of Peace and Security’ funded by the AHRC, ‘Gendered Peace’ funded by the ERC and the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub. Professor Chinkin was Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security from 2015-2018.
She co-edited the book ‘The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: A Commentary’ and authored the chapter on violence against women and girls. She was scientific advisor to the Council of Europe Committee that drafted the Convention on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the ‘Istanbul Convention’), the most far-reaching international treaty aimed at tackling violence against women and domestic violence.
She will be joined by Hannah Wilson who works for Women’s Link Worldwide, an international human rights organisation which seeks to use the power of the law to promote social change which advances the rights of women and girls, particularly those facing multiple inequalities. She is based in Madrid and has recently raised issues about the poor conditions of workers harvesting strawberries in Huelva Spain who are mainly women and women’ rights in Rwanda.
Bright energetic women
In addition the People’s Tribunal have recruited a number of new bright energetic women legal associates as volunteers who are starting out in their careers after graduating. They include Isabelle Ehiorobo, a Law graduate from the University of Sussex; Shauna Lyttle who read history at King’s College London and is now completing a graduate LLB and Natalie Payne a recent LLB graduate from the University of Warwick, ( my former university) beginning a postgraduate study in Human Rights Law in 2020.
When the tribunal gets going it will be on a much broader canvas than the BackTo60 campaign. It will raise issues about poor working conditions, poverty, job discrimination, domestic abuse as well as pension discrimination among many others. It should prove a catalyst making discrimination against women a mainstream issue. It will also be a big fight with the government to get legislation on the agenda.
In the meantime the group has a spanking new website which can be reached here. The campaign is just beginning.
The Court of Appeal has announced that the long awaited judgement on the Backto60 case covering 3.8 million women who had to wait up to six years for their delayed pension will be made on September 15.
The judgement will be delivered by email to the two claimants on behalf of BackTo60 campaign and the Department for Work and Pensions. The judgement will be put on the judiciary website.
The official notice published today reads:
NOTICE Take notice that on TUESDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER, 2020 at 10.30, Judgment will be given in the following. APPEAL From The Queen’s Bench Division (Administrative Court and Divisional Court) FINAL DECISIONS C1/2019/2914 The Queen on the application of Delve & Anr -v- The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Covid-19 Protocol: This judgment will be handed down remotely by circulation to the parties or their representatives by email, release to BAILII and publication on the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website. The date and time for hand-down will be deemed to be TUESDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER, 2020 at 10.30.
A copy of the judgment in final form as handed down should be available on the Judiciary website (www.judiciary.uk) or BAILII shortly thereafter but can otherwise be obtained on request by email to the Judicial Office.
The decision will be on the merits of whether the DWP handled the policy change properly and whether the women suffered discrimination not on the merits of the plight of the women.
If the judges decide that there were faults in the system the women will have won and be entitled to compensation. If they decide that the DWP acted properly within the law they will lose.
The case has received the attention of three of the most powerful judges in the Court of Appeal.
They are the Master of the Rolls, 69 year old Sir Terence Etherton; Lord Justice Sir Nicholas Underhill, 68, and Lady Justice Dame Vivien Rose,60.
The DWP engaged Sir James Eadie known as the ” Treasury devil” – one of the most powerful lawyers employed by the government, to argue their case.
BackTo60 brought in Michael Mansfield, one of the leading human rights lawyers as part of their team.
Imagine you are being pursued by a stalker or an abusive ex. You get a court order or an injunction to stop them pursuing you. You decide to take a break to get out of the country and away from it all . Your abuser follows you abroad and starts to pester you. You call the local police.
If that happened now a European directive would allow you immediately to invoke the order in 27 countries and the person would be arrested and would likely end up in jail.
But from January 1 the order you obtained from a British court will no longer be recognised and you will have to start from scratch if you want your abuser to be stopped. And the change is coming just as good legislation under the Domestic Abuse Bill will give courts new powers to stop abusers – mainly but not exclusively men – harassing you on pain of being jailed.
Details of this state of affairs has come to light in an obscure report to the Commons European Scrutiny Committee. The issue was thought to be so minor that neither the EU nor the UK thought it worth even discussing in their negotiations – which shows you how low down the agenda domestic abuse is for top officials.
Victims Right Directive
The directive – known as the Victims Rights Directive -allowed any UK court order including restraining and stalking orders to be automatically applicable in the 27 EU countries, including when a person was on holiday there, without having to resort to separate civil action.
It has actually taken a committed Brexiteer – Bill Cash as chair of the committee – to raise the issue at all.
He writes in a report:
“From 1 January 2021, it will no longer be possible for orders made by UK courts to safeguard an individual against a criminal act that may endanger their life, physical, psychological or sexual integrity, dignity or personal liberty to be recognised and enforced in a foreign jurisdiction if that individual moves (even temporarily) to an EU Member State.”
Domestic Abuse Bill
Her added: “There will no longer be a relatively simple mechanism for ensuring, for example, that the domestic abuse protection orders envisaged in the Domestic Abuse Bill will be recognised and enforced within the EU.”
The junior minister in the Justice department, Alex Chalk, also confirmed this.
“There is “no comparable fallback option” after transition as the European Protection Order is “a unique European Union law-based mechanism”. As a consequence, “an individual seeking a protective order after transition will need to secure a domestic (civil) protection order from the EU Member State that they are visiting.”
Frankly it seems extraordinary that this issue has been overlooked. As it is this measure is very simple – allowing British law to be extended to 27 countries to protect British citizens. Yet we are throwing this away on January 1 for the sake of ideology. I have written about this measure for Byline Timesearlier this month.
There is a glimmer of hope that the matter could be taken up by the Women and Equalities Committee in Parliament or the Joint Committee on Human Rights. But sadly there is very little time to do anything about it. Ministers have promised to include the provision in domestic law – so people will have to have a staycation to stay safe.
This new film released today covers both the reaction to the Judicial Review hearing last month and the birth of the People’s Tribunal. It also shows that under BackTo60’s leadership the two are interlinked.
The BackTo60 campaign was aimed to help 3.8 million women born in the 1950s get full restitution for their pensions. The People’s Tribunal has a hugely enlarged audience covering all women and girls in the United Kingdom and seeking to end the discrimination against all women.
Both are linked by injustice. The 50sWomen campaign wants restitution for the implementation of unfair laws – the 1995, 2007 and 2011 Pensions Act because of the adverse effect on one large group of women.
The People’s Tribunal want the UK to bring into domestic law the UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw).
The UK is already signed up to the convention – Margaret Thatcher did so in 1986 – but unlike other countries has not put the convention into UK law. The UK has also never appointed a representative to sit on the UN committee in Geneva either.
Any such legislation would transform women’s rights to fight discrimination and have a massive effect on the legal system of this country.
It would also give women a massive confidence boost that they would know beyond doubt they are equal to men and if they are treated any worse than men have a powerful tool to pursue any injustice through law.
Some people might think that in modern Britain women already do have equal rights with men. But when you think that despite equal pay laws and an Equality Act under the Blair Labour government, many women still do not have equal pay now nor do they have equal progression in their chosen career.
Despite strides – including all women short lists – there is not equal representation in Parliament among MPs and women more than men suffer domestic abuse.
Professor Jackie Jones, who was an expert witness in the judicial review and is part of the People’s Tribunal team, explains all of this very well in another YouTube video which you can watch below.
Finally all this going to cost money and today the People’s Tribunal launch a big crowdfunding appeal to set up and run the tribunal. They need to raise £75,000 but it will be worth every penny. The link top the crowdfunder is here.
Revised figure doubled for ” men only national insurance subsidy”
The Department for Work and Pensions has revised the estimated number of men over 60 who received what are known as ” auto credits” towards getting a full pension from 4.65m to 9.8m between 1983 and 2018.
The 4.65 million figure was already staggeringly high but the new figure is more than double the number previously disclosed. It is also well over double the number of 1950s born women who are currently waiting for their pension for up to six years.
The scale of the payments has been kept quiet by the Department for Work and Pensions for 37 years. It was only revealed last month when Myfanwy Opeldus, one of 3.8 million women facing now a six year delay to get her pension, got the admission from the ministry through a Freedom of Information request.
Letter issued after court hearing
Yesterday the Department for Work and Pensions wrote to her again raising the figure to 9.8 million. The letter came just after the Court of Appeal hearing into the judicial review this week heard about the plight of women affected by the rise in the pension age and was told by Michael Mansfield about the men receiving ” auto credits” which was not known at the time of the first judicial review.
The new disclosure makes it even more galling for the women who were originally promised they would have their national insurance contributions paid between 2010 and 2018 only to have the offer withdrawn a year before it was due to start. A number have had to pay thousands of pounds to make up the sum for a full pension while others simply have not been able to afford it.
The letter does say that not all 9.8 million men would have benefited as some would have died, others would have full insurance records and some would have been working abroad.
enormous subsidy for men
Nevertheless the scale of the subsidy must be enormous and a benefit for people years after it was offered by Sir Geoffrey Howe, the Chancellor of Exchequer in 1983, to encourage men to get off the dole to keep the very high unemployment numbers down at the time.
This story seems to get worse and worse so let us hope there will some justice from the courts for all the women concerned.