SNP MP Mhairi Black has hit out against the UK government for failing to pay women their pension, arguing that if the Tories can find a billion pounds for a deal with the DUP to cling on to power then they can afford to give women the pensions they’re rightly entitled to.
Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate, the SNP’s Pensions spokesperson said the UK government needs to do more to help WASPI women (Women Against State Pension Inequality) affected by changes to the state pension age.
Mhairi Black MP said: “I cannot believe we are still having to argue the case for WASPI women, and that the UK government has failed to listen. The fact we are having to debate this again is an absolute disgrace.
“For the government to say they can’t afford to pay these women what they are owed is laughable. They can find a billion pounds to cling on to power, but they can’t find the money to give women the pensions that they are due.
“These women are guilty of nothing. They have had the misfortune of being female and being born in the 1950s and live under this UK government who refuses to do the right thing.
“This is an issue of equality.
“The UK government must take responsibility and do the right thing for these women who are missing out on their pension.”
Her comments come as the Pensions Minister Guy Opperman enraged WASPI women by claiming they “can take up apprenticeships“.
Opperman said the government would not change laws that have disadvantaged older women, adding they have “extended apprenticeship opportunities” to get older people into work.
His comments were met with shouts of “shame” during the debate in Westminster Hall.
A stunned Graham Jones, who is the Labour MP for Hyndburn, responded by saying: “I’m struggling to hear the debate, did the minister just say that women aged 64 could go on an apprenticeship course?”
WASPI campaigners took to twitter to voice their anger at the Minister’s remarks, with one tweeting: “I care for my partner who has severe heart failure. At 60 I would be gutted that I would be stealing an apprentice ship from young.”
Another tweeted: “So maybe us Waspi Campaign women can all be become sorcerers apprentices and magic a pension! Guy Opperman, you’re a disgrace!”