Call for immediate action
SNP dossier ‘proves women’s pension figures wrong’
The SNP is today calling for immediate action to help the millions of women born in the 1950s who have been denied their pension.
It has unveiled independent research showing UK government figures on pension inequality are wrong.
The 2011 Pensions Act accelerated planned increases in women’s State Pension Age from 63 to 65 between April 2016 and November 2018, and from 65 to 66 by October 2020.
Thousands of women were never told of the changes and some will now receive their state pension years later than expected.
The issue, which effects 2.6 million women in the UK, has drawn widespread criticism.
A lobby group, Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI), has campaigned for the introduction of transitional measures, supported by a Commons committee.
But the UK Government has rejected the proposal, saying that, at a cost of £30 billion it would be too expensive.
The SNP has now unveiled independent research by Landman Economics that has found it would cost £8 billion to return to the original timetable set out in the 1995 Pensions Act.
It says this would be a significantly cheaper option for the UK Government “which would go some way to ending the gross injustice served to these women and would help to alleviate pensioner poverty.”
The National Insurance Fund (NIF) had a £20.9bn surplus at the end of March 2015 and the latest forecasts project a surplus of £26.3bn at the end of this year and £30.7 billion at the end of 2017/18.
Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Pensions spokesperson, said: “A pension is not a privilege, it is an entitlement and yet millions of women born in the 1950s are struggling to make ends meet because they are being denied their pension – many women are facing real hardship and they need action now.
“The Tories have tried to wash their hands of this crisis but that is simply not good enough which is why the SNP decided to do the work for them. Our independently researched report reveals the five options immediately available to the UK Government to deliver dignity in retirement for the 2.6 billion women affected and ensure that the mistakes of the past are corrected.”
Mhairi Black, a member of the Work and Pensions Committee which has also called for transitional payments, said: “Not only have these women had their retirement plans completely shattered, they were also badly let down by a UK Government that failed to adequately inform them of the changes.
“£8 billion is not a small amount of money but it is a drop in the ocean for this Tory Government that thinks nothing of spending £167 billion on their nuclear-obsession by renewing the obsolete Trident weapons system – that’s twenty times the cost of ending pension inequality for these women.
“I hope that the UK Government will welcome this report and at last act to end the gross injustice these women are being forced to bear.
“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.”