Scottish Labour plans state pension top-up for 80,000 women

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Thousands of Scottish women who missed out on the flat-rate state pension would be compensated under plans unveiled by Labour.

The new £155 a week single-tier state pension introduced this month is designed to simplify the system so people have a better idea of the foundation on which they build their auto-enrolment savings.

However, due to existing inequalities in state pension ages, women born between 6 April 1951 and 5 April 1953 are not eligible for the single-tier, while a man born during the same period would be.

Although women in this cohort could receive between £13,000 and £26,000 in extra state pension by drawing it earlier, official estimates suggest overall they will get around £6 a week less on average than their male counterparts.

Under proposals set out by the Scottish Labour party, these women would be handed a top-up to make up the difference. It says this is possible under the Scotland Act 2016.

Labour estimates around 80,000 women would benefit from the policy, at a cost of £30m a year. It says this would be paid for by reversing increases to the higher-rate tax threshold.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale says: “The changes being made by the Tory Government will hit thousands of women across Scotland, who over the course of their life have paid into the system and done the right thing. Through no fault of their own they are going to be worse off because of these changes.

“Labour has led the opposition to these cuts at Westminster and we’ll carry on fighting to have them reversed, but I’m not going to sit and wait on the Tories to do something when we have the power to act now.

“That’s why we’ll use the new powers of the Scottish Parliament to top up the pensions of these women and make sure that none of them are worse off. Labour will deliver real change, not warm words, and protect women’s pensions.”