THE UK’s youngest MP has insisted that pensions are not a benefit but a right, as she attacked Chancellor George Osborne over his obsession with “unnecessary austerity”.
Twenty-one year old Mhairi Black used a speech to the SNP spring conference in Glasgow to highlight the issue of pension inequality.
Ms Black said the previous Conservative government at Westminster failed to publicise a change in the law which brought the age women receive the state pension into line with that for men.
While the retirement age is currently 66, she said some females are “only now finding out they will be waiting six years to get their pension” instead of getting it when they turn 60.
Ms Black, who was 20 when she ousted Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander to become MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South last year, said: “Still, women are only now hearing about this.
“And I repeat myself because there seem to be ministers in London who just aren’t quite getting it - pensions are not a benefit, they are a right.”
She told the conference: “We have a Chancellor who is so obsessed by unnecessary austerity that he is prepared to take from young people, he is prepared to take from the disabled, he’s prepared to take from those on low wages and now he’s taking from our pensioners.
“It’s not just any pensioners, it’s female pensioners who come from a generation that has constantly faced inequality throughout their lives in pay, in work and through the assumption that they would stay at home to look after children.”
She said in the run up to the 2014 independence referendum Scots were told “the only way to maintain and keep our pensions safe was by voting No”.
But she hit out: “That is a promise that has been broken and it is high time that the broken promises of the unionists are given the same and proper level of scrutiny that they deserve.”