The Scottish National Party has declined to lend its support to the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign through an amendment to upcoming legislation to assist them.
Money Marketing understands that in a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Waspi on Wednesday, the SNP confirmed they would not support adding a Waspi related clause into the Pensions Schemes Bill, which is currently being reviewed in the House of Commons.
Waspi is campaigning for transitional measures for women for in the 1950s who have seen their state pension age increase.
The Bill mainly includes measures to strengthen rules on master trusts and paves the way for exit charge caps.
The Bill has its second reading on Monday.
SNP pensions spokesman Ian Blackford MP says that the decision not to support the Waspi amendment was because the party had been advised it was out of scope for a Bill on private pensions, and would put the new master trust regulations at risk.
Blackford says: “The SNP are fully committed to fighting for justice for the WASPI women who have had their retirement plans completely shattered by the UK government. SNP MPs have raised this issue at least 44 times in the House of Commons, commissioned independent research and refuse to stop fighting for justice for the WASPI women.
“It is totally disingenuous for any politician to suggest that the SNP refused to support the campaign. A suggestion for a reasoned amendment to kill the Pensions Scheme Bill, was proposed – however this would help no-one only remove the helpful regulation provisions within the Bill related to master trusts.”
“The SNP are advised by clerks that it is unlikely that any provision for changes relating to the state pension will be within the scope of this tightly drafted bill, however, as we have consistently said, if possible at further stages, where the bill can be enhanced and provision for the WASPI women can be included, we will certainly do so.”
A letter from an MP to a Waspi member seen by Money Marketing expressed disappointment at the decision, however.
“As you know there have been various opposition day and general debates on Waspi in recent months, but those are simply a way of talking about the issue, they do not force the Government to act or to listen to Waspi women.
“This Bill is different, as it is Government legislation and the Bill is of a suitable topic that we can amend it to include a clause about Waspi. Tabling the amendment is just the beginning. In order for an amendment to make it onto the statute books and become law, it would need cross-party support, especially from Labour and the SNP.
“Given the SNP has used some of its opposition day debate slots to debate Waspi issues, it was an extremely unpleasant surprise to the APPG to learn from the SNP that they would not support the amendment…Without the SNP’s support there is no chance of the amendment passing.
“I am at a loss to explain their u-turn on their support for Waspi.”
Blackford MP and other SNP MPs such as Mhairi Black have been vocal on the Waspi issue previously, describing the lack of transitional arrangements for women affected by state pension increases as a “gross injustice”.