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Independent Pension Commission Needed

North Ayrshire & Arran MP Patricia Gibson has called on the UK Government to set up an independent commission to investigate how changes to the state pension will impact on both men and women.

State Pension Age rises have created inequalities for women born in the 1950s.

A petition by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) Campaign which calls on the UK Government to make fair transitional state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s has attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

Patricia said:

“Asking older women to return to work to make ends meet, after their retirement plans have been shattered by state pension age rises is neither fair nor in many cases possible through ill-health or care commitments.

“The SNP fully supports equalisation but now, more than ever, it is absolutely vital that the same mistakes are not repeated which is why the UK Government should establish an independent pensions commission to fully investigate the impact of pension reforms.

“There has been a complete failure to address a lifetime of low pay and inequality faced by many women born in the 1950s and now women are at risk of further hardship under the new pension system which makes it all the more disappointing that only a handful of Tory MPs bothered to show up in the Commons to debate this important issue.

“We have vastly different situations across the UK with a person aged 65 in Scotland today likely to live until they are 82 if they are man and 84 if they are a woman – nearly two and a half years below life expectancy in England. This means a pensioner in Scotland, no matter whether they are male or female – has much less time to enjoy a secure and comfortable retirement.”

“Pensions are not benefits, they are contracts which women born in the 1950s entered into aged 17; fundamentally the 2011 Pensions Act represents a broken contract. These women have done exactly what was asked of them by working hard all their lives, paying their national insurance only to have it then taken away from them.

“Effective transitional arrangements must be introduced and the UK Government needs to act now to ensure that pension reforms do not put future generations at a disadvantage."

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