It was great to see Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale set out our five pledges to support older people yesterday.
- We’ll make sure that thousands of women born between April 1951 and 1953 do not lose out from the changes to the State Pension
- We’ll protect the winter fuel payment and take action against fuel poverty
- We’ll protect older people’s free bus passes and regulate buses to keep services reliable and regular
- Labour will protect our NHS from cuts and guarantee an appointment at your GP surgery in 48 hours
- Labour will stop the cuts to the community services older people rely on
The changes being made by the Tory Government will hit thousands of women across Scotland. Although they have paid into the system over the course of their life they’ve now found out that 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 make sure that these women are no worse off, but we cannot wait for the Tories to create a fairer outcome for these women, especially given that 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. We’ll deliver real change, not warm words.
For me the choice of using the powers of the Scottish Parliament or carrying on with cuts to women’s pensions is crystal clear – Labour will use the powers. I hope the SNP will join us and support our plan to help the thousands of women affected.
Our proposals to invest more in social care and the NHS are also crucial. One of the biggest issues in my mail bag in the last couple of years has been from women who act as carers, for their children or their husbands and partners who have been left without the support they need. That’s why I also strongly support Scottish Labour’s plans to fix local government funding and invest in GPs.