SUPPORT FOR A campaign featured last week on insideMoray has come from Moray’s MP, who has joined calls for the UK Government to reconsider the timetable for equalising the pension age for men and women.
Last week we featured the campaign by Moray women who are backing the national WASPI group in seeking redress for “unfair and discriminatory” methods used in equalising the retirement age for men and women.
Now Moray MP Angus Robertson is supporting the group – saying that the UK Government are “arbitrarily targeting women born in in the 1950s”.
The Pensions Act 1995 legislated for the planned age rise to take place between April 2010 and 2020 – but the Pensions Act 2011 accelerated the latter part of that timetable so that the state pension age for women will now reach 65 in November 2018.
Mr Robertson said that he has been contacted by several constituents in Moray who will be adversely affected by these changes, saying: “I am receiving correspondence from Moray women born in the 1950s who will lose out as a result of transitional arrangements to the new pension age.
“While the SNP agrees wholeheartedly with equalisation of the state pension age, we do not support the unfair manner in which the changes were made.
“You cannot simply ignore what has gone before – many women born in the 1950s have had only a few years to make alternative arrangements which is causing undue hardship by shattering their retirement plans.
“The SNP continues to press the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on this issue and we hope that the pressure on him on this issue will result in a change of heart from the UK Government.”
The MP added that to change the goalposts drastically such a short time before retirement was “entirely unfair” – as well as putting huge pressure on people’s finances.
He added: “This issue is not only about the pace of change but illustrates the Government’s failure to address a lifetime of low pay and inequality faced by many women, by arbitrarily targeting women born in in the 1950s.
“Many women who made solid retirement plans are understandably upset at this change which completely undermines those plans.
“A shifting of the entitlement by six months from April 2020 to October that year is wholly inadequate when a significantly longer extension of the transition is required.
“When you can find £167 billion to spend on nuclear weapons, you can find the money to do the right thing and look after your pensioners – the Government must revisit the inequalities felt by women born in the 1950s immediately.”
The WASPI Campaign
WASPI are seeking transitional protection for women who are worst affected by the changes, and has a petition that currently sits at over 38,000 signatures.
While 10,000 signatures are enough to illicit a response from the UK Government, that said only that they “will not be revisiting the State Pension age arrangements for women affected”, somewhat disingenuously claiming that “all women affected have been directly contacted following the changes.”
Now WASPI are calling for more support throughout the UK in the knowledge that should they reach 100,000 signatures the UK Government will be obliged to consider the issue for a Parliamentary debate.