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August 2017

Forms of parental discrimination

Examples where fathers are treated less favourably than
mothers.

PARITY

March 2017

News Briefing

March 2017
England and Wales

PARITY

Parity action group

History of CESPA

In late February and March 1986, Geoff Alderton and John Bennett, both in Cheshire and Geoff Williams in Dorset, separately contacted the EOC about the continuing inequality in pension age. Geoff Alderton informed the EOC that he was keen to form or join an action group to press for pension age equality. The EOC subsequently relayed this on to other enquirers, including John Bennett and Geoff Williams. John Bennett then phoned Geoff Alderton to make their first direct contact.


Some weeks later, David Yarwood and David Lindsay, both in Berkshire, but acting separately, had letters on this issue published in The Guardian on 23rd April 1986 and in The Times on the 2nd May 1986 respectively.


Geoff Williams read David Yarwood's letter in The Guardian (which attracted a response from two other readers, one of them George Burdett) and wrote to him on 24th April 1986, confirming similar views and advising him about Geoff Alderton's intention. David Yarwood replied to Geoff Williams on the 11th May 1986 and wrote to Geoff Alderton to express interest also in some group action.


By then also, David Yarwood had seen David Lindsay's letter in The Times (which attracted letters from three other readers) and wrote to him on the 18th May 1986 to advise the interest of Geoff Alderton in forming an action group and asking whether he would also be interested. David Lindsay responded positively by phone the next day.


It was agreed between the three main contacts at that time (David Lindsay, Geoff Alderton, and David Yarwood) that a more coordinated approach on the issue of pension age inequality and related benefits should be attempted, since there appeared to be no existing organisation doing this. Thereafter, information on individual actions was exchanged between these three contacts. Geoff Alderton kept in contact with John Bennett and others in the north.


On the 12th May 1986, the TUC publicly declared its support for an equal state pension age of 60 for men and women. A letter by Geoff Alderton on pension age inequality published in the Manchester Evening News on the 6th June 1986 attracted a response from only one person. A further letter by Geoff Alderton published in the same paper on the 16th June 1986 attracted responses from three more readers. Sam Watt had a similar letter published in the June issue of CHOICE magazine.


On the 12 June 1986, Geoff Alderton and John Bennett visited the Equal Opportunities Commission in Manchester to seek their help and spoke with Myra Oates. However, although the Commission was supportive in principle and was prepared to back any supportable case on discrimination by commercial organisations it could only offer advice and information on the issues of inequality in pension age and in local authority benefits.


This was because the Commission then deemed that both these matters were excluded from both UK and European sex discrimination law, and so the Commission had no remit to act on them. (Successes in the James case in 1990 on non-statutory benefits and in the prescription charge case in 1995 later proved the Commission wrong on this)...

 

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