This Tory Government knows the price of everything and the value of nothing – it cannot be right that billions are spent on obscene nuclear weapons or on dropping bombs in Syria while millions of women born in the 1950s are denied the pension they are due.
The SNP agree with the equalisation of the state pension age but we do not support the unfair manner in which these changes were made in the 2011 Pensions Act. Around 2.6 million women were affected by the accelerated pace and many will receive their pension years later than expected. Furthermore, due to the UK Government’s shambolic handling of the notification process these women have not been given a reasonable period of time to properly prepare for retirement.
The Tories must take responsibility for this gross injustice. The issue 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 fair transitional measures, but the UK Government has refused to act. Women born in the 1950’s and affected by these changes are feeling the hardship now and need action, and since the Tories refused to act the SNP decided to do the necessary work ourselves to find a solution.
Our independently researched report reveals that there are five options currently available to the UK Government that would allow them to reverse their mistakes and deliver dignity in retirement for these women. And our research has found that all this could be done at a fraction of the cost the UK Government has been perpetuating. For £8 billion, as opposed to the £30 billion predicted by the UK Government, we could to return to the original timetable set out in the 1995 Pensions Act – which would go some way to ending the gross injustice served to these women and would help to alleviate pensioner poverty.
We already know that we have the money, with the National Insurance Fund projected to have a surplus of £30.7 billion at the end of 2017/18. The UK Government is sitting on this hefty pot and must surely consider using £8 billion to alleviate the plight of the women of the 1950’s that they themselves have caused.
We hope that this report will be welcomed by the UK Government and convince them to at last act to end this inequality. It’s time for the Tories to face up-to reality; pensions are not a benefit, they are a contract and the UK Government has broken that contract – but they can fix it.
Ahead of the Tory Conference, the SNP will be delivering a copy of this report to 10 Downing Street and demanding justice for the women of the 1950s. If the Prime Minister is to live up to her rhetoric of working “not for the privileged few” it is time to end this inequality and deliver for the women of the 1950s.