East Lothian Courier – 21 March 2024


Last week Parliament provided an opportunity for MPs to express their anger with the delay in addressing the manifest pension injustice faced by many women born in the 1950s. There’s quite a few here in the county and many have been in touch with me. Across the country the number’s huge and their hurt and loss has been significant. Some have even sadly died without having this addressed, let alone been compensated for it.

It’s accepted that the DWP made an error and never properly advised them of what was coming. I, like no doubt them, had hoped that this would have all been resolved by the Courts years ago. Sadly, that wasn’t to be but the wrong remains morally, if not legally. That an error has been made is accepted. It’s urgent therefore that it’s resolved.

After all, these women were paid less, treated less favourably, yet often worked in critical roles for our society when they were in employment and have now been left bereft of rights they had assumed would be there’s. It’s not just the financial loss that they’ve required to endure but the effect that it’s had on their lives.

As I stated in the debate many people plan for their retirement. They have dreams about what they wish to do with their newfound time. That can be just spending more time with the grandkids or pottering away in the garden. A few may have grander plans whether travelling or achieving some other long-term ambition that becomes possible in retirement.

These plans and dreams were taken away from them, along with the heavy price they faced being denied their entitlement. Compensation must therefore include restitution of their financial loss but also a sum for the pain and injury they endured. The Government must get on and deliver it, but the Labour opposition and likely next administration must also commit to it.

Finally, just to advise of the annual Yes Musselburgh Kathleen McDonald Memorial Talk on Monday 25th March at 7.30 at Staggs Lounge, Musselburgh, where the journalist Simon Pia will be delivering the talk. All welcome.