A Highland MP today launched a blistering attack on the UK Government’s “abdication of responsibility” of female pensioners losing out under state pension age increases.
Ian Blackford said the Tories had a “faulty moral compass” and called for the authority to be devolved to Scotland “if they can’t do the right thing”.
Equalisation measures for men and women began to take effect in 2010, but the timetable was then revised and a quicker schedule introduced.
The speeding-up of the process means some women previously weeks away from their original state pension age are now months off their new one.
Mr Blackford, who represents Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said if the Government could find £167billion for Trident, it could find the cash to do right by its pensioners.
He was proposing a motion at the SNP spring conference in Glasgow expressing concern that the acceleration of equalisation directly discriminates against women born on or after 6 April 1951.
It also calls on the UK Government to establish an independent pensions commission to assess pensions policy, looking at the issues with a view to creating a fairer universal system.
The MP told delegates: “Austerity is not an economic necessity, it is a political choice.
“This is a government with a faulty moral compass. Where is the fairness in all of this?
“This is why we are saying to the UK Government they have to act.
“If the UK Government can’t do the right thing, give us the powers in Scotland so that we can look after women pensioners.
“We in Scotland will accept our responsibility. Our pensioners would be better off with the SNP and ultimately better off with Scottish independence.”
The baby of the House of Commons Mhairi Black also spoke in support of the motion, which was passed by acclaim.
She said: “Pensions are not a benefit, they are a right.
“Let’s not forget we have a chancellor who is so obsessed with unnecessary austerity, he is prepared to take from young people, to take from the disabled, those on low wages and now he is taking from our pensioners.
“And 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.”
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 the previous Westminster government had failed to publicise a change in the law which brought the age women receive the state pension into line with that for men.