State pension: ‘Men had freebies!’ Campaigner explains how men had 35 years free NI

The state pension age for women rose to 65 to bring it into line with men and will go up to 66 by 2020, and 67 by 2028. But the Back to 60 campaign group have been working to get full restitution as they claim it is discrimination to women. Their latest evidence revealed that more than 4.6million men aged over 60 have had the last five years of their national insurance contributions paid by the state, the Department for Work and Pensions has disclosed.

The ‘men only national insurance subsidy’ began in 1983 and has continued for 35 years.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Hinder said: “It’s been found that for 35 years from 1983 to 2018 that Margaret Thatcher’s initiative of auto credits for men has gone on for so long when it’s was really a remedy for the three million unemployed back in the ’80s.

“Men have had free National Insurance top-up if they had been ages 60 to 65 and hadn’t been able to find employment.

“That has given them an extra on their state pension when they come to retire.

“Whereas, if I hadn’t had cancer, I would have been forced to look for a job post 60 unlike before these changes.

“Women were normally ineligible to pay National Insurance from age 60 onwards but now they have to.

“All these women who have no income have to go out and earn.”

The Back to 60 group exclusively found out how long the scheme has continued through a Freedom of Information request.

The scheme was launched by the Thatcher Government following a period of unemployment. It was wound up in 2018.

The ‘auto credits’ were was announced in the 1983 Budget by the late Sir Geoffrey Howe, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, as one of four measures to get down the unemployment count which was more than three million.

Unemployment did fall and was half that level by 2018 when the scheme was dropped.

The findings come as Julie Delve, 62, and Karen Glynn, 63 , sufrom BackTo60, lost a landmark High Court fight against(DWP) last year, but the pair have mounted a challenge at the Court of Appeal.

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Michael Mansfield QC, representing the women, said the impact of the state pension age change has been “dramatic”, adding: “This has been catastrophic for this group.”

Speaking at a virtual Court of Appeal hearing on Tuesday morning, Mr Mansfield told three senior judges: “We have a group of essentially, economically and emotionally, disenfranchised women.

“So it is against that background that we do submit that there are grounds for discrimination.”

Mr Mansfield said that alongside the “economic, almost poverty line existence” that they have to face, there is also the “psychological mental stress placed upon them” which reduces many people unable to even do what they need to do to “make ends meet”.

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