WASPI campaign pledge
Tories accused of ‘duping’ pensions women
Ian Blackford: ‘The UK government must take responsibility’
Tory MPs have been accused of “duping” women fighting to re-instate their right to a state pension.
Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said some of those who signed a petition supporting the women’s campaign failed to vote on an SNP motion calling on the government to improve transitional pension arrangements.
The motion was backed by the Democratic Unionist Party and some Conservative MPs.
The women are campaigning against legislation which has deferred their state pension age from 60 to 66, forcing many of them to work longer. They say they were not adequately warned of the changes.
“MPs who signed the petition supporting the Waspi campaign, but didn’t vote with the SNP in the Commons, have duped the women who are fighting for the pension they are due,” said Mr Blackford.
“These women are guilty of nothing. They have had the misfortune of being female and being born in the 1950s and live under this UK government who refuses to do the right thing. This evening, a Tory MP showed just how out of touch they are by suggesting 65-year old women take up apprenticeships.
“We have long fought for the government to rectify this shambles and give the Waspi women the pension they rightfully deserve. I speak on behalf of these benches when I say we will not rest until this injustice has been rectified.
“This is an issue of equality. The UK government must take responsibility and do the right thing for these women who are missing out on their pension.
“We welcome the support of the DUP and some Tory MPs, and now call on the government to finally take action.
“The sight of conservative rebels alongside DUP support puts real pressure on the government. This is one of the few votes where Tory rebels have actually gone through the lobbies against the government since the election.”
He added: “To the other Scottish Tory benchers, I flag their attention to page 62 of the Scottish Conservative manifesto: ‘We will also ensure that the state pension age reflects increases in life expectancy, while protecting each generation fairly.’
“I sincerely welcome the backing of some 37 Conservative MPs who expressed support for the Women against State Pension Inequality before the general election. Including former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton and ex-Tory Chairperson Caroline Spelman.”
New FOI figures reveal that the Department for Work and Pensions has received thousands of complaints relating to the WASPI (Women against state pension inequality) campaign, yet only six “WASPI investigations” have been seen through to completion.