With thanks to Kenneth Hutchison, Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Eilidh Whiteford
Women campaigning for fair pensions ‘deserve a fair hearing’, according to the SNP’s Pensions Spokesperson, Dr Eilidh Whiteford. The comments come following a meeting between MPs and campaigners representing Women Against State Pension Inequality.
WASPI represent thousands of women born in the 1950s, who have now been hit twice by increases to the retirement age.
To date, the UK Government has announced no compensatory schemes for those who will lose out as a result of the changes.
While the SNP believes that the state pension age should indeed be equalised, the party has criticised the manner in which the UK Government has implemented its changes, in the face of significant opposition from opposition parliamentarians and civil society.
Speaking after the meeting with WASPI campaigners at Westminster, Dr Whiteford said:
“It is profoundly unfair that these ladies have worked their whole lives, only to be told that their retirement age is being raised not once, but twice. They deserve a fair hearing from the UK Government.
“The UK Government has railroaded these changes through parliament without heeding the real impact this will have on women born in the 1950s. Stephen Crabb’s statement to parliament seems to indicate that there’s still no change whatsoever to the Government’s position.
“Constituents affected by these changes should be assured, however, that I and my fellow SNP MPs will continue to keep pressure on the Tories to look again at how these changes are implemented.”
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Thank you Eilidh. Like many women of my age, I just ‘put up with’ even more inequality for women in the form of the unfair handling of raising the Pension age . It is so good to hear of WASPI’s actions and of your support, and this article has inspired me, and I hope others to claim both our rights and respectful treatment.
In struggling to make sense of this issue, I decided to do a little research.
As I understand it, the retirement/pension age in the UK had, for many years, been 60 for women and 65 for men. This peculiar inequality in favour of women, as far as I understand it, did not lead to a women’s equality campaign to increase the retirement age for women to 65 or reduce the retirement age of men to 60 at any time.
Although the WASPI message seems unclear, I understand they would like the retirement age for women, born during the 1950’s, to revert back to 60 and for the retirement age for women born in 1960 and thereafter to be immediately increased to 66 in line with that of men.
This, I feel, invites questions of WASPI, some of whose members it is alleged, have attacked Pensions Minister – Ros Altmann who said: “These women have e – mailed me with horrid and vile messages, such as hoping I get struck down with cancer, that I’m a traitor, a turncoat and that I’ve sold my soul to the devil” and makes one wonder whether their issue is one of equality or just disappointment that moving towards equality has resulted in them, personally, losing the advantage afforded them by the previous inequality?
Notwithstanding the somewhat debatable validity and dubious morality of the WASPI stance, it is not surprising to see the SNP embark on yet another opportunistic and populist crusade, with nothing constructive to say about the inevitable difficulties in attempting to keep everyone happy during a time of transition from clear advantage for women to a more equal arrangement.
Personally, I find the continual rabble – rousing and sectarianism of the SNP depressing, rather than inspiring, and would like to hear Ms Whiteford explain exactly what transitional arrangements she would prefer to put in place and how she would pay for them.
Bruce, you have failed to understand the argument. The request is for adequate notification of changes to the pensions age, as required by the government’s own commission in 1995 which was ignored, Women like myself have had the pension age changed twice in 7 years and then weren’t even informed for several more years, resulting in too little time to make career changes to accommodate for having to work longer. Add this to inequitous changes in Home Reponsibilites NInsurance, and the fact that women still bear the burden of child and other care in our communities, making job changes more restricted.
This is an apolitical issue, we are looking for reasonable treatment and people to hear the arguments not slag each other off and score political points.