Men over 60 win pounds 100 in winter fuel sex-bias case

THE pounds 100 winter-fuel payment will go to an extra 1.5 million pensioners after a retired postal worker yesterday won a European Court of Justice battle against sex discrimination in the Government's social security benefits system.

Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Social Security, was forced to act after the European court decided that John Taylor, 64, of Norton, North Yorkshire, was a victim of unlawful sex discrimination. He had not been not entitled to the payment until he qualified for a state pension at 65, paid to women at 60.

The court ruling means the Government will have to extend the winter- fuel payments immediately to all men over 60. Campaigners said that they would increase the pressure for the equalisation of the state pension for men and women at 60.

Downing Street said that it could cost an estimated pounds 125m in back payments, stretching back two years to the time the winter-fuel allowance was brought in by Labour.

A publicity campaign is to be mounted to identify the estimated 1.5 million men who will be eligible for the extra cash. Ministers believe that could cost the taxpayer pounds 25m in administrative costs. The annual cost of extending the payments to all men over 60 will be pounds 85m.

The winter-fuel payments were pounds 20 when they were introduced in 1997, but increased to pounds 50 a year later. Pensioners are entitled to pounds 100 per household for winter fuel bills; if there are two eligible pensioners, the payment is still limited to pounds 100.

Officials were left scratching their heads over how to fulfil the court ruling. "Most of these men are not on our records," one Whitehall source said. "They don't show up if they are not unemployed and not drawing a state pension. It may look simple but it's very complicated."

Mr Taylor, who was supported by the civil-rights organisation Liberty, said: "I've been fighting for two years for this and I'm very pleased. All the over-sixties should receive winter-fuel payments now, but although we've won the battle we have not yet won the war.

"This is part of a major campaign and our ultimate objective is to achieve equal state pension age for men and women. This is a great Christmas present for all the over-sixties and a brilliant start to the millennium."

Mr Taylor, whose bill for gas central heating and electricity at his three-bedroom house is about pounds 500 a year, had sought judicial review.

Help the Aged said: "We believe pensioners' lives could be better improved by a higher state pension and better support insulating cold homes."

Liberty's legal officer Di Luping, who is Mr Taylor's solicitor, said: "It is a milestone in the fight for true equality between men and women. However, this is just one state benefit and there are others that should be equally available at age 60 for both sexes."

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
News
i100
Life and Style
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Year 2 Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Bognor Regis!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Year 2 Teacher currently need...

Data Analyst / Marketing Database Analyst

£24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits