NEW HOPE HAS been given to women campaigning for a fair deal over pension changes that left thousands having to change their retirement plans by several years.
Leaders of the national Woman Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) have been encouraged by a speech made yesterday by the SNP leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, who indicated that the time was ripe to force the UK Government into a change of direction over the issue.
WASPI have been very active in Moray, the local group only recently being reassured by Moray’s MP Douglas Ross that he would support their cause – even if it meant voting against his own party at Westminster.
Now that pledge could be put to the test, with Mr Blackford calling on the Labour party to support his SNP group at Westminster and put an end to what he called “the injustice caused by the mismanagement of changes to the state pension age”.
The SNP MP told his Party Conference in Glasgow: “Mhairi Black’s campaign for justice for the thousands of WASPI women affected by the UK government’s unfair pension changes has also shown the fairer choices that could be made.
“We know a win is now in sight for WASPI women. Eight DUP and two Tory MPs have signed a parliamentary motion showing their support – meaning parliamentary arithmetic is now on our side to push the government to give women the pensions which are rightfully theirs.
“So today I am calling on Labour to unite with us and challenge the Tories to end this injustice.”
Responding to the speech, Jane Cowley, WASPI’s Communications Director said: “We welcome Ian Blackford’s commitment to continue to fight for the 3.8million WASPI women across the country.
“The support from MPs from across the political spectrum, including Conservative, SNP, Labour, Liberal Democrat and DUP Parliamentarians, means so much to WASPI women who have been fighting to have their voices heard.
“Our experience at Conservative conference last week showed us that there is also significant support from within the Conservative Party to help WASPI women. We were greatly encouraged by meetings with a number of high-profile MPs, as well as on-going support from grassroot Conservatives.
“Our campaign has real cross-party support, and we are confident that now is the time for Parliamentarians of all parties to work together to find a solution. As Ian Blackford rightly said, Parliamentary arithmetic is on our side, and a win is in sight for WASPI women.”
Last week during an appearance on the community radio show Wave Newsbeat with insideMORAY, Douglas Ross reiterated his pledge to support WASPI in their cause, saying: “I was the only Conservative candidate to support the WASPI campaign, which does differentiate me from my colleagues – so when that comes up to a vote I won’t be supporting my party on that.”