Thousands of women in East Dunbartonshire are set to be affected by plans to hike the retirement age, a study has shown.
A new independent report by Landman Economics showed about 4,300 women in the region will be impacted – and 242,500 across Scotland.
Researchers found it would cost £8 billion to return to the original timetable set out in the 1995 Pensions Act – a significantly cheaper option for the UK Government which would go some way to ending the gross injustice served to these women and would help to alleviate pensioner poverty.
The National Insurance Fund (NIF) had a £20.9 billion surplus at the end of March 2015 and the latest forecasts project a surplus of £26.3 billion at the end of this year and £30.7 billion at the end of 2017/18.
The report outlines five possible options to compensate the women adversely affected, who were born on or after April 6 1951.
MSPs Gil Paterson and Rona Mackay have welcomed the report and backed calls for the UK Government to look at the recommendations and bring an end to the inequality that has seen retirement plans “shattered with devastating consequences”.
The Pensions Act 2011 enacted by the UK Government accelerated the timetable for increases in women’s State Pension Age (SPA). Women’s SPA will rise from 63 to 65 between April 2016 and November 2018, and from 65 to 66 by October 2020.
Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has been at the heart of raising the profile of the issue. Its members ask for a ‘bridging’ pension to cover the gap from age 60 until State Pension Age for women born in the 50s.
The majority of those impacted in East Dunbartonshire are the 2,500 women age 56 to 60 born between 1955 to 1959.
Gil Paterson MSP said: “I welcome the proactive approach taken by the SNP to find out what can be done for the many women in my constituency whose retirement plans face ruination. For the sake of my affected constituents, and those across Scotland, the Tories can listen up and take this issue on. I commend the work done by the WASPI campaign, they have been an inspirational group in challenging this utter outrage.”
Rona Mackay MSP said: “The results of this independent report are absolutely staggering – thousands of women are affected in Strathkelvin and Bearsden alone. As WASPI says, this legislation has seen retirement pans shattered with devastating consequences.
“We now have a clear idea of how this inequality can be eradicated – and the UK Government has to face up to the facts and look at the options we have unearthed.
“I’d like to comment the work done by the women in WASPI, who have championed this noble cause for millions of women across the United Kingdom.”