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Election letters 2019 / Blaming civil servants will not wash

Thousands of women in Orkney and Shetland have been adversely affected by the pension changes brought in by the Liberal-Tory coalition in 2011.

These women have partners, families and even friends who will have also been affected by the knock-on effect of them not being able to retire when they’d planned to, or retiring without their state pension.

The change brought in by the previous government in 1995 to align the retirement ages of men and women was the correct thing to do under the Equalities Act.

Those changes were planned over a reasonable period of time, giving women time to adjust and fair notice was given.

However, the Liberal-Tory coalition pushed through secondary legislation to significantly reduce that time and gave little or no notice to the women concerned, purely to save money.

Alistair Carmichael is currently trying to blame civil servants and the Tories but considering he was the deputy chief whip who pressed other MPs to push through this legislation, I don’t think this will wash.

The SNP, Labour and the Greens all voted against the 2011 changes. The SNP has been at the vanguard of those pressing for compensation. The SNP state that in an independent country they would not only compensate the WASPI women but would investigate how Scotland’s state pension could be brought into line with the average state pension in the EU of £335 per week.

Pensioners should not fear Scottish independence; they should be fighting for it.

I would urge all the affected women, their partners, families and friends to vote for the SNP, who will work hard to protect and improve your pension entitlement.

Angela Sutherland
Shetland SNP branch manager