WASPI women’s pension fight will continue at Westminster

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There’s a buzz about the place as WASPI women meet with Labour’s Jackie Baillie MSP and and SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes in the Burgh Hall for pension talks.

By Bill Heaney

Stinging criticism from WASPI women and their cross-party political supporters has failed to shift the UK government’s position on their pensions.

Asked by Sandra White MSP what discussions it has had with the Department for Work and Pensions regarding progress with changing the state pension age for women in Scotland born in the 1950s, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: “We have raised that issue with the UK Government on numerous occasions and have made clear our position that it should take responsibility for the mishandling of the policy and provide transitional protection for those who have been affected.

“Those women have been badly let down by the UK Government, and it is disappointing that, despite the overwhelming evidence of the devastating impact that the changes have had, nothing has changed.

“It is time for the UK Government to accept responsibility for the hardship that it has created.”

Sandra White replied: “In the light of the UK Government’s punitive changes to pension credit, with the WASPI women—the women against state pension inequality—again being penalised, I ask the Minister to call on them to put in place fair transitional state pension arrangements and halt the reforms to pension credit, which will hit those who are most in need.”

Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “In February, I wrote to the pensions minister about the recent changes to pension credit eligibility, and I urged him to consider the impact of those changes, particularly on those WASPI women who are part of a mixed-age couple and who will now find themselves doubly disadvantaged because of the UK Government’s policies.

“He did not address my points regarding the plight of the WASPI women in his reply, so we will continue to raise those issues with him.

“The strength of support from all parties, with the exception of the Scottish Tories, was evident in last night’s members’ business debate.

“I commend Sandra White and others who are involved in the cross-party group on WASPI for their continued support of the WASPI women in their fight for justice.”

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