On Tuesday, I delivered a petition, with hundreds of signatures, on behalf of his Inverclyde 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 £30billion but independent research commissioned by the SNP has found that it would cost significantly less to help these women at £8 billion.
Local 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 was presented in the House of Commons chamber before being sent to the UK Government for a formal response.
Around 2.6 million women have been unfairly hit by the rapid rises to the State Pension Age and as a result their retirement plans have been shattered. Here in Inverclyde, just under 4,000 women are affected by the changes.
Hundreds of signatures have been gathered, at very short notice, in Inverclyde by local WASPI supporters which shows the strength of feeling behind this urgent call to the UK Government to provide support for the women affected by these 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 a contract that the UK Government has broken.