Dugdale makes pledge on retirement change
Women pensioners ‘will not be worse off under Labour’
Kezia Dugdale, the party leader, said she will top-up their pension using the Scottish parliament’s new powers.
Some women will lose out by the decision to change the state pension age from 60 to 66 while some will also lose out under the new £155-a-week single-tier pension introduced this month.
Due to existing inequalities in state pension ages, women born between 6 April 1951 and 5 April 1953 are not eligible for the single-tier, while a man born during the same period would be. Most women born throughout the decade will be affected by the change to the state pension age.
Labour says 80,000 women in Scotland are affected by the change to the SPA and the introduction of the new single-tier state pension. The party has costed the latter at £30m but not made clear how it would compensate those losing out under the deferred pension age.
“Under Labour’s plans, the cohort of women affected would receive a top up to their pension using the new powers of the Scottish Parliament. This will be paid for by reversing George Osborne’s changes to the higher rate threshold,” said the party.
Announcing the policy on a visit to a Pensioner’s Club in Easterhouse, Ms Dugdale (pictured) said: “Labour will not give up the fight against these changes at Westminster, but will not stand by when we have the powers to make a difference to the thousands of women affected across Scotland.”
She said: “The changes being made by the Tory Government will hit thousands of women across Scotland, who over the course of their life have paid into the system and done the right thing. Through no fault of their own they are going to be worse off because of these changes.
“Labour has led the opposition to these cuts at Westminster and we’ll carry on fighting to make sure that these women are no worse off, but I’m not going to sit and wait on the Tories to do something when we have the power to act now.
“That’s why we’ll use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to top up the pensions of these women and make sure that none of them are worse off. Labour will deliver real change, not warm words.
“Faced with the choice of using the powers of the Scottish Parliament or carrying on with cuts to women’s pensions, Labour will use the powers. If the SNP are really serious about helping the thousands of women affected they should back our plan.”
Daily Business has been contacted by more than 200 women who feel the change to the state pension age represents a breach of contract by the government.