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Isles MSP Alasdair Allan met with WASPI protesters at Holyrood yesterday (Thu, April 18) and described them as “inspirational.”

With pensions fully reserved by the UK government, he conceded that Holyrood’s hands are tied over intervention.

“Even with the limited social security powers devolved to Scotland, the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to create new pension benefits,” commented Dr Allan.

“However, I commend our SNP colleagues in Westminster to campaign to right this terrible injustice and highlight that pensions are not a privilege; they are a contract, and the UK government has broken that contract.”

The Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign was formed in 2015 after government moves denied them their full pension rights after increasing women’s retirement age to 66 and reducing the lead-in time for the change.

SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Susan Thomson, has criticised Westminster’s procedures and priorities, as a delay means the second reading of the State Pension Age (Compensation) Bill has been pushed back by a month to 17 May. 

Councillor Thomson said, “There are nearly 2,000 women in this position in this constituency, and, in common with women across the country, they did not have time to make alternative plans when the state pension age was altered.

“Only last month, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report agreed that the changes had not been communicated properly, and said that compensation should be paid. And yet, this is not seen as a priority by the Government.”

She concluded, “Neither the current Conservative Government nor Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has committed to fair and fast compensation for these women. I am proud of the efforts SNP MPs have made and continue to make on behalf of WASPI women, and pledge to add my voice and efforts to this campaign, whether in my current capacity as a Councillor or if elected to Parliament.”

(Additional comments have been added since this report was first published.)