Two women have lost their Court of Appeal challenge against the Government over controversial changes to the state pension age.
Nearly four million women born in the 1950s have been affected by reforms introduced by successive governments to ensure "pension age equalisation", which have raised the state pension age for this group from 60 to 66.
Julie Delve, 62, from South Cumbria and Karen Glynn, 63 - supported by campaign group BackTo60 - brought a Court of Appeal challenge over the changes after losing a landmark High Court fight against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last year.
The women argued that raising their pension age unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age and sex, and that they were not given adequate notice of the changes.
But in a judgment published on Tuesday, Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, Lord Justice Underhill and Lady Justice Rose unanimously dismissed the women's claim.
They found that introducing the same state pension age for men and women did not amount to unlawful discrimination under EU or human rights laws.
As part of their ruling, the senior justices said that
Despite the sympathy that we, like the members of the Divisional Court (High 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 went on to say that They said that "in the light of the extensive evidence" put forward by the Government, they agreed with the High Court's assessment.
It is impossible to say that the Government's decision to strike the balance where it did between the need to put state pension provision on a sustainable footing and the recognition of the hardship that could result for those affected by the changes was manifestly without reasonable foundation.
Reacting to today's ruling the Department for Work and Pensions said;
We welcome the Court of Appeal’s judgment. Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, finding we acted entirely lawfully and did not discriminate on any grounds. The claimants argued that they were not given adequate notice of the changes to State Pension age.
The Court ruled that the DWP had given adequate time and due notice to the women who would be impacted by the changes, adding that it was a move that had long been in the pipeline.
The Government decided 25 years ago that it was going to make the State Pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality. Raising State Pension age in line with life expectancy changes has been the policy of successive administrations over many years.