Published: 15/12/2017 07:00 - Updated: 08/12/2017 13:15

Fight for fair pensions has cross-party support at Westminster

Written byEmma Crichton


Highland Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaigners say they were not warned of age increases.

HIGHLAND MP Ian Blackford led a successful debate on a fair retirement rate for women born in the 1950s, winning by 288 votes to zero.

Thousands of women in the north have been affected by the increase in the state pension age from 60 to 65 and they say they were not aware of the change, made in 1995, as they were never informed.

Combined with new changes which will see the eligible age rise to 66 by 2018 and 67 by 2026, many women born after April 1951 are now waiting six years longer than expected for their state pension payments.

The affected women say they are not against the age increase, but the speed they have been implemented and the lack of warning.

In last week’s Westminster debate on the issue, Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford’s motion to improve transitional arrangements for affected women gained cross-party support and even Moray Conservative MP Douglas Ross went against party orders to abstain and voted with the SNP.

Mr Blackford, who leads the SNP’s Westminster group, said: "This is a failure of policy by the UK government.

"We need to put mitigation in place. Let us stand up for 1950s women.

"These women have, for too long, been let down by politicians."

The motion was also supported by fellow Highland MPs Drew Hendry and Jamie Stone.

But Guy Opperman, under-secretary for work and pensions, said the only options are to increase the pension age or cut the monthly payments.

"We are faced with increasing pressures of increased life expectancy and its cost," he added.

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