MSP delivers pension help petition

Hundreds of people from Dumfries and Galloway have signed a petition for Government help to avert a crisis in womens’ pensions.

Richard Arkless, MP for Dumfries and Galloway, delivered the petition alongside his SNP MP colleagues, signed by hundreds of his constituents calling on the UK Government to take immediate action to help the millions of women whose retirement plans have been shattered by rapid increases to the State Pension Age.

The 1995 Pensions Act legislated to bring the state pension age for women in line with the age for men over two decades but the 2011 Pensions Act rapidly accelerated the original timetable and the 2.6 million women effected by the changes – born in the 1950s – were not informed.

The UK Government has so far refused to act, claiming that transitional measures would cost £30 billion but independent research commissioned by the SNP has found that it would cost significantly less to help these women.

The report showed that only £8 billion would be required to return to the original timetable set out in the 1995 Pension’s Act, and if this approach was adopted, women would be given much more time to adapt to the increase in state pension age.

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) groups have gathered thousands of signatures from their local areas in support of their petition, calling for action from the UK Government, which SNP MPs have lodged in parliament.

The petitions will be presented in the House of Commons chamber before being sent to the UK Government for a formal response.

Richard Arkless MP said: “Around 5,000 women in Dumfries and Galloway have been directly affected by the sharp rises to the State Pension Age and have not been given sufficient notice to make alternative plans for their retirement.

“The changes have had devastating consequences for many local women and their families and the government must act now to give them the pension entitlement that they are due.

“Thousands of signatures have been gathered by local WASPI groups up and down the country to show the strength of feeling behind at these unfair changes.

“No-one is arguing against the equalisation of the State Pension Age however, these women have paid National Insurance contributions and are due their pension – it is not a benefit but an entitlement and the contract these women had with the UK Government has been broken.

“Transitional measures are affordable and the government is running out of excuses - they must make good their pension commitment to these women as soon as possible.”