Richard Arkless MP for Dumfries and Galloway, has demanded that the government ‘act now’ to make transitional pension arrangements fairer for women.

Speaking during an Opposition Day Debate last week, Mr Arkless said that the government was in ‘breach of contract’ as thousands of women who had expected to receive their pension at 60 will now have to wait until they are 66.

MP Mhairi Black led for the SNP during this important debate which included many powerful and passionate speeches from MP’s from every political party.

Intervening during the debate, Mr Arkless said:

“If this was a private pension company that had unilaterally changed the pension conditions of 2.6 million ladies in this country, this house, quite rightly would be up in arms. These women don’t even want the contract enforced in full – they just want transitional arrangements that are fair and surely this government must act now to make it fairer.”

The changes to the state pension age for women were introduced by the coalition government in 2007 with the intention of equalising the state pension age for both men and women from 65 to 66 between the years 2024 and 2026.

Further changes in 2011 saw the government accelerate pension age equalisation for women, giving all women born on or after 6th April 1951 only 5 years notice that their state pension would not be paid until they were 66.

Commenting, Mr Arkless said:

“The equalisation of pensions for both men and women is not the issue, everyone accepts the retirement age should be equalised – the problem is the speed of the transitional arrangements that are in place.

“The government has not given these women sufficient time to make alternative plans for their retirement and this has had devastating consequences for thousands of women approaching their retirement age. Some of the constituents I have spoken to affected were in tears telling me their story. It has been devastating to them.”

He added:

“It must be remembered that a pension is not a benefit, it is an earned entitlement. Through making NI contributions all their working lives these women have entered into a contact with the government – that contact has been suddenly changed at short notice and to the extreme detriment of these women.

“The government must act now – the austerity burden must not fall on these hard working women’s shoulders. The government must make sure that fairer transitional arrangements are in place for those women affected.”

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