MSP outrage at Tories abandonment of WASPI Women

Wednesday September 21st 2016

Colin Beattie

Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North & Musselburgh, is appalled at the newly unveiled, independent research which he says shows that Tory figures on pension inequality are wrong. He has called for immediate action to help the thousands of women born in the 1950s that live in the Midlothian region who have been denied their pension.

The 2011 Pensions Act accelerated planned increases in women’s State Pension Age from 63 to 65 between April 2016 and November 2018, and from 65 to 66 by October 2020 – many women were never told of the changes and some women will now receive their state pension years later than they expected to.

The issue, which effects 4,000 women in the Midlothian region, has been widely debated in the House of Commons and the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) groups have worked tirelessly to campaign for the introduction of transitional measures but the UK Government has refused to act – saying that, at a cost of £30 billion it would simply be too expensive to correct their mistakes of the past.

Independent research by Landman Economics, however, has found that it would cost £8 billion to return to the original timetable set out in the 1995 Pensions Act – a significantly cheaper option for the UK Government which would go some way to ending the gross injustice served to these women and would help to alleviate pensioner poverty.

The National Insurance Fund (NIF) had a £20.9 billion surplus at the end of March 2015 and the latest forecasts project a surplus of £26.3 billion at the end of this year and £30.7 billion at the end of 2017/18.

Colin Beattie MSP said:

“Thousands of women in Midlothian are being denied access to their pensions and being told it’s because we can’t afford to pay them. This report clearly shows that the Tories have not done their job taking care of them and that it is within our reach to make this situation right immediately.

“I want to reassure women affected by the Tories’ negligence that I remain committed to making sure that they receive what is already theirs. A pension is not a privilege, it is an entitlement. Among these women there are many that are facing real hardship because of the government’s abandonment. They deserve action on this matter now.

“The Tories continued denial of aid to the women of the 1950s represents a gross offense against their dignity. If the Tories will not be devoted to helping them then we must be. This report outlines several sensible approaches to remedy this situation as quickly and efficiently as possible. I hope that this report will be welcomed by the UK Government and that they will finally act to end this inequality.”

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