Mhairi Black slams Tories after woman takes own life amid pension fears

SNP pensions spokeswoman Mhairi Black said campaigners from Women Against State Pension Inequality had highlighted the case of the woman.
SNP pensions spokeswoman Mhairi Black said campaigners from Women Against State Pension Inequality had highlighted the case of the woman.
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A woman killed herself after the general election result heightened her pension worries, an SNP MP has claimed.

Mhairi Black, the SNP’s pensions spokeswoman, said she was “absolutely scunnered” - meaning annoyed - with “banging on about the injustice” done to women by moves to increase the state pension age from 60 to 65.

She urged the Government to perform a U-turn and give extra financial help to those affected, adding Theresa May’s £1 billion deal with the DUP to prop up her minority administration diminishes ministerial claims about a lack of cash.

Plans to increase the state pension age for women between 2010 and 2020 were initially set out in 1995.

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But the coalition government decided to speed up the process in 2011, resulting in the state pension age for women due to increase to 65 in November 2018 and to 66 by October 2020.

Campaigners, led by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) group, argue women affected by the changes have suffered financial hardship and been required to rethink their retirement plans at relatively short notice.

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Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate, SNP frontbencher Ms Black said: “I got an email today from a woman, a Waspi woman ... and she was telling us that her friend committed suicide after the general election result because she could not face what was going to happen to her.

“Citizens committing suicide over an issue that could be solved like that.

“An issue that the Government could do a U-turn on at any given moment.

“So when the Government manages to fork out a magical £1 billion to cling on to power, first of all you must really want the job of being the one that has to fix these things.

“Second of all, you don’t get to claim that money is the reason you can’t help when you can find £1 billion for self-interest.

“The Government quite rightly dropped the manifesto pension plans, I think two of them in total, because they have seen how damaging, unworkable and unpopular they would be.

“Now that was wise for the Government to do that and, in actual fact, I have a bit of respect for them to be able to go ‘Aye, we got that wrong guys so we’re pulling back, we’re listening to you’.

“What I would say, for hopefully the last time, just drop one more plan.

“Realise this is cross-party, this is across different backgrounds, different areas, this is people’s mothers, this is your aunties, this is your sisters and cousins.

“So please can we do the right thing, do the job of Government and fix the problem and start looking after your people.”

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