SNP demands solution to Waspi 'gross injustice'

SNP demands solution to Waspi 'gross injustice'

The Scottish National Party has claimed some of the grievances of the Women Against State Pension Inequality(Waspi) campaign could be resolved at a cost of £8bn.

The claim was based on the findings of a 37-page report commissioned by the SNP, which looked at five alternative courses of action to address the grievances of women affected by changes to the state pension age.

The report proposes changing two pieces of legislation. The first, the 1995 Pensions Act, pushed women's retirement age from 60 to 66, while the second, the 2011 Pensions Act, accelerated the timetable by as much as 18 months. 

In a statement on Thursday (22 September) SNP MP Mhairi Black focused on the second of the five alternatives, which would undo the 2011 Act, and return to the original 1995 timetable.

This, the report found, could be done at a cost of £8bn - which Ms Black said was a "fraction of the cost" projected by government.

"For £8bn, as opposed to the £30bn predicted by the UK government, we could return to the original timetable set out in the 1995 Pensions Act – which would go some way to ending the gross injustice served to these women and would help to alleviate pensioner poverty," Ms Black said.

She claimed the government already had the money, pointing out the National Insurance Fund projected to have a surplus of £30.7bn at the end of 2017 to 2018.

"The UK government is sitting on this hefty pot and must surely consider using £8bn to alleviate the plight of the women of the 1950s that they themselves have caused."

Ms Black said the SNP would be delivering a copy of the report to 10 Downing Street and "demanding justice for the women of the 1950s".

"If the Prime Minister is to live up to her rhetoric of working 'not for the privileged few' it is time to end this inequality and deliver for the women of the 1950s," she said. 

The publication of the report comes a month after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pledged his support to the Waspi cause

In a televised debate with Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith, Mr Corbyn said he would "want to deal with the issue of the women who have been short-changed by the increase in retirement age [and] ensure that they are given proper transitional payments, otherwise known as the Waspi women".

A spokesperson for Mr Corbyn later confirmed: “This is an issue that Jeremy wishes to address, which is why he brought it up. We will be addressing it in more [detail] later in the campaign.”

In August, the original five founding Waspi campaigners split into two factions, with one side claiming the other had seized control of the campaign in a "military-style coup".