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Sarwar demands pension credit for women

Anas SarwarLabour leadership contender Anas Sarwar wants cross-party talks to help bring a resolution to the dispute over women’s state pensions.

He has appealed to the SNP and Tories to work with Labour to introduce a Scottish Pension Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions has challenged Scottish ministers claims that they do not have the power to introduce ‘discretionary payments’.

Mr Sarwar will seek amendments to the Social Security Bill to include powers over new benefits and make use of these to introduce a Scottish Pension Credit for low income women.

If accepted by the SNP, Mr Sarwar says this £80million policy will help women who have to remain on out-of-work benefits because they either have been left with nothing – or do not have any income from private or employer pensions

He said the issue needs to be resolved by the SNP or the Tories because it will be too late to act after the 2021 Holyrood election, and women are already losing out.

Over 2.5 million women born in the 1950s have had their state pension age changed. Around 253,000 Scottish women have been affected by this change, as highlighted by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign.

Mr Sarwar said: “Thousands of women born in the 1950s have been left facing real financial difficulty because of the lack of notice given by the cruel Tory government about changes to the state pension. Women in Scotland should not have to bear the brunt of Tory mismanagement.

“SNP politicians claim they don’t have the power to do anything, but the DWP disputes that.

“These women deserve more than a constitutional fight between the SNP and the Tories – they deserve justice. As leader I will seek cross-party talks to end the stalemate.

“We need urgent action to end the hardship faced by women who have worked all their lives and find that they cannot retire as planned.”

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