WASPI women de­serve sup­port

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of at­tend­ing a meeting of the Glas­gow and La­nark­shire branch of Women Against State Pen­sion In­equal­ity (WASPI), a cam­paign fight­ing a bat­tle against in­equal­ity on be­half of mil­lions of women across the UK.

WASPI is made up of women born in the 1950s who have had their plans for re­tire­ment ru­ined by faster than promised changes to the state pen­sion age with lit­tle or no no­tice given to those af­fected.

For thou­sands of women in Scot­land, this will mean fi­nan­cial hard­ship in older age.

What makes mat­ters worse is that this un­fair­ness is com­pounded by years of dis­crim­i­na­tion and in­equal­ity in work.

Many of the women af­fected had to fight for equal pay and were, in the past, un­able to join work­place pen­sion schemes leav­ing them with no other re­tire­ment in­come.

Many of them have car­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and are in low­er­paid, part time jobs that are of­ten phys­i­cally de­mand­ing and harder to con­tinue work­ing in.

In 2017, it is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able that any­one might face the threat of poverty in old age, par­tic­u­larly when it is brought about by the ac­tions of gov­ern­ment.

The cam­paign does not op­pose equal­i­sa­tion of the state pen­sion age but calls on the UK Gov­ern­ment to se­cure non-means tested tran­si­tional ar­range­ments for all women born in the 1950s un­til they reach state pen­sion age.

Labour’s man­i­festo com­mit­ted to tran­si­tional pro­tec­tions and we will con­tinue to fight for that ac­tion.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment must also care­fully ex­am­ine what it can do to sup­port the WASPI women us­ing the pow­ers of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment to in­tro­duce dis­cre­tionary pay­ments.

I was dis­ap­pointed to read se­nior SNP politi­cians sug­gest that even if the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment could help, it should not have to.

The SNP is al­ways very vo­cal on big cam­paign is­sues but more re­luc­tant to take ac­tion when there is a fight with West­min­ster to be had.

Of course, the Tory gov­ern­ment must act im­me­di­ately to end this gross un­fair­ness, but it is per­fectly rea­son­able to de­mand that ac­tion whilst si­mul­ta­ne­ously sup­port­ing those af­fected.

If there is anything the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment can do to help the WASPI women, it has a moral obli­ga­tion to do so.

WASPI is an im­pres­sive, grass­roots cam­paign that has al­ready demon­strated its ef­fec­tive­ness - the In­de­pen­dent Case Ex­am­iner has re­ceived over 700 com­plaints and is now set­ting up a ded­i­cated team to han­dle them - and the Glas­gow and La­nark­shire branch is hop­ing that more women will get in­volved to help keep the pres­sure on the gov­ern­ment.

There are more women in Ruther­glen and Hamil­ton West who will be af­fected by th­ese changes than in any other con­stituency in Scot­land.

I fully sup­port the cam­paign and I am happy to as­sist any­one in the con­stituency who is af­fected.

WASPI Glas­gow and La­nark­shire also of­fers lots of help and re­sources, in­clud­ing let­ter tem­plates, to those who want to get in­volved in the cam­paign and add their voice to the grow­ing num­ber women across the UK who are stand­ing up against th­ese un­fair changes.

The Tory gov­ern­ment must act im­me­di­ately to end this un­fair­ness

Pen­sion pleaWomen Against State Pen­sions In­equal­ity are cam­paign­ing across the UK

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