£120m to fix pension discrimination

The Supreme Court has ruled that pensions which discriminate against same-sex spouses are wrong – and it’s going to cost £120m to fix.

The 2010 Equality Act included a clause allowing employers to discriminate against same-sex couples, by letting employers treat employees who began employment prior to the 2005 Civil Partnerships Act differently in pension provision.

The judgement in the court case brought by John Walker, who is now 66, has found the 2010 Equality Act to be unfair and says the exemption of such workers is “incompatible with EU law and must be disapplied”.

The court battle John Walker begain in 2012 has taken five years to reach this resolution. It is remarkable that had the court case taken just another two years such a ruling might have been lost due to Brexit.

The government estimates that paying fair pensions to workers following the ruling will add £20m to public sector total pension costs and £100m to those in the private sector. That means that by dint of being in same-sex couples, older LGBT people were being cheated out of £120m by the Equality Act.