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Webchat with Mhairi Black MP, Tuesday 12 January at 11 - 12pm

(31 Posts)
KatGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 08-Jan-16 18:52:00

We’re pleased to announce that the SNP’s Mhairi Black MP will be joining MNHQ on Tuesday 12th January between 11 - 12 pm, but will also be taking questions from Gransnet. She’d particularly like to talk about the ‘Women Against State Pension Inequality’ campaign - see below for more details on that.

Mhairi Black is SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and is the current ‘Baby of the House’ - the youngest member of the House of Commons. After joining the SNP in 2011 Mhairi was elected at the age of 20 in the 2015 General Election, whilst completing her undergraduate degree in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. Her maiden speech made headlines, partly for the rule-breaking applause which followed it.

In support of the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign, Mhairi secured a debate in the House of Commons on state pension age increases that some say discriminate against women born on or after 6th April 1951, calling the situation “grossly unfair”. The campaign is calling for the reversal of the decision to delay the retirement age for women born in 1953-1954 - you can read more about this here.

Please do join us on the day or leave a question here in advance - questions posted on here will be copy and pasted over to the webchat over on Mumsnet, and answers will be copied over to here.

Riverwalk Fri 08-Jan-16 18:57:07

I heard Mhairi speak yesterday in the HoC - goodness she is wise beyond her years!

I was born in 1954 and can only thank her for securing the debate.

She's a star we should watch.

DotMH1901 Fri 08-Jan-16 20:32:49

I was born 1955 and would like to thank Mhairi for all her support in helping to get us noticed. Sadly my own MP isn't bothered - neither was my former MP in Dover (both are Conservative MP's).

Scooter58 Fri 08-Jan-16 22:48:38

As Riverwalk says,wise beyond her years,there is still hope for women in politics,as a WASPI supporter I thank Mhairi for her support,my local MP Marion FELLOWS is also an avid supporter of the WASPI campaign .

heavenknows Sat 09-Jan-16 13:31:41

I saw her discussion regarding women's pensions too. Very impressive.

So refreshing to see an MP putting the concerns of the people forward so passionately. And so disheartening that it takes someone so young and new to the field to show the rest of them the way it's done. Great MPs that stand up for the people and do what's right should be the NORM, not an exception.

But well done to her, I've been impressed with her so far and hopeful that it will encourage more women and young people to stand up and be involved.

leemw711 Sat 09-Jan-16 23:11:47

Very impressed with this wise young politician. As a pensioner born in 1952 I am one of many, many thousands of retired women who will never receive a full pension unless Mhairi Black fights for us and being recently widowed I really need the extra money which we have been cheated out of by this dishonest government.

GranJan60 Sun 10-Jan-16 20:04:38

Thanks SO much for your support Mhari-great to know someone in Gvmt. cares. Born Apr 54 and worked all life from 16 with short break for children. At 61 made unexpectedly redundant and applied for hundreds of jobs. JSA about to stop so now left dependent on husband's pension. Financed myself through Open Uni. studying after work and supported childrens studies as well. No maternity leave or equal pay or able to join pension fund for years.
Never cost country anything. What a way to end career - chucked on scrapheap. gOvernment just don't care.

bobcaz Sun 10-Jan-16 22:10:38

i watched the debate, very powerful speech from one so young. You should be very proud of yourself. Thank you on behalf of all 1950s women x

italiangirl Mon 11-Jan-16 08:46:07

Like your previous contributors I have raised two Children working and still supporting my family paying taxes and be find I have to wait for my pension from the state taxed to the pension I am getting because I'm working because I have to work .I am Lucky enough however want to add my voice in support .The changes came in too place with no consultation 1am a 1954 baby no choice about that .yet paying the price.

Cambia Mon 11-Jan-16 08:52:58

1955 baby here who only realised five years ago that I was on a reduced stamp so my pension will be around £17 per week! This can t be adjusted by extra payments apparently. As the difference in payments is not huge, it would be nice to know what I was paying towards! I am lucky in that I have another pension but what happens to the women that don't? Surely there should be some form of making extra payments for the last ten years.

bobcaz Mon 11-Jan-16 09:47:34

I too am a 1954 woman, worked from 15yrs, but having breaks to raise children and care for elderly parents. I had a small business for 10yrs but it became too much for me and wasn't bringing in much income, so my husband (who is 7yrs older) and I decided that I would give it up age 58 and he would drop his hours to part time, in the view that he would get his pension and I would get mine 2yrs later. A well earned retirement after all our hard work. There is no chance of that now, I will be 62 in April and have had no income for 4 years and will have to wait till Nov 19 before I get my pension. My husband will have to work till he is 72yrs old, until my pension kicks in, if he lasts that long. Jobs are just not available at my age. I have never earned a good income, because I am of a generation that did not get the opportunities that are available today, I had no free child care so could not work long hours, but I raised three well adjusted children who have always worked hard, never been in trouble and are appalled at the way my pension has been taken away. I would like to thank The Waspi ladies for all they are doing and also all the MPs that are trying to make a difference for us.

goldfinch5349 Mon 11-Jan-16 10:53:52

Question for Mhairi: Born December 53 I have signed WASPI petition, circulated it to friends and family and contacted my MP. What else can I do to try and make sure the government take some action to help 1950's born women? Thank you very much for your help so far, it is much appreciated.

judyblueeyes Mon 11-Jan-16 10:55:41

Hi Mhairi, Thanks for speaking out about the unfair pensions age increase - I am one of those affected. I am also ill and disabled. For the last 5 years I have been living with fear & anxiety because of the punitive Government cuts and dreadful assessments they have introduced for the benefits I rely on to survive (which I have worked all my life to ensure). My one small glimmer of hope was that soon I would soon be at pension age & not have to live every day with that anxiety. Now of course that is not the case.

And to my horror I've also just discovered that the Government now want to abolish Attendance Allowance & hand over support for ill and disabled people over 65 to local councils. We all know are they are struggling to cope with huge funding cuts already so this does not bode well at all. They will not be able to cope. Here is the consultation about it (page 7) The words "at the earliest possible legislative opportunity" really worry me. www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486730/Provisional_settlement_consultation_document.pdf

I cannot tell you how afraid for my future this makes me. I wonder if it is worth carrying on. I did not plan to become ill or disabled, but I try to live my life as best as I can. I do not need the constant background fear about being able to afford to eat/live eating away at me as well. Please can you do your best to prevent them doing this - it is the final nail in the coffin.

NW950 Mon 11-Jan-16 11:16:46

I would also like to thank Mhairi for having the courage and wisdom to make a stand to try and do something about this appalling inequality.

I am so angry at the way the Government is able to keep moving the goalposts. I have worked hard all my life and saved on the basis that I would retire at 60. And yet the goalposts have moved and moved and now I have to wait until I am 65. I do realise people are living longer and something needs to be done to reflect this but you cannot expect people to live a whole life according to one set of rules then have them changed at the last minute. We can't possibly make up the shortfall at this stage in our lives/jobs. And yet other friends get their pensions no problem.

We appreciate you speaking out for us and I would like to know if there are any other steps I can take - both for my own financial security and also to help you in what you are doing?

sharky Mon 11-Jan-16 11:23:46

Thank you from me too Mhairi

I read this very interesting piece about it all paullewismoney.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/women-given-just-2-years-notice-of.html

But I struggled to get past the first point. "The Government did not write to any woman affected by the rise in pension ages for nearly 14 years after the law was passed in 1995."

How on earth can they get away with this? You can bet your bottom dollar that if it was men affected they never would have got away with it this long

downthelane Mon 11-Jan-16 11:26:20

Dear Mhairi

I know that this was debated in the Commons for several hours last week and your motion was passed by 158 votes to zero. But the minister said that there will still be no change.

This is ludicrous. Now what?

Thank you for fighting the fight

yezle Mon 11-Jan-16 11:41:37

I agree with all the above posters. But would like to raise another point about the continual increase of the retirement age which is that sometimes the work that you do makes it impossible to continue in a job even though you may wish to.

As a nurse I have had to help move patients - often twice my body weight - for years and years and as a result now suffer from back problems which prevent me continuing in the role however much I might want to. So what am I supposed to do at 60 plus? Retrain? Even if I could afford it what's the point in spending a year training for a new career that will only last a couple of years? The government need to think about those of us who have done heavy work that cannot be sustained into later years. They also need to remember that unemployment is rife, particularly in the north where I live. So it is all very well telling me I need to work - and actually I would like to work - but where am I meant to find a job when I have spent the best part of 40 years doing something I can no longer do?

mrshm Mon 11-Jan-16 11:45:36

My husband and I are both retired and spend a lot of our time helping out at local charities and organisations that do a huge amount of good in the community but would never survive without volunteers like us. Had I been born a year later we would not have been able to do all this and it made me think about the what ifs and how these changes are going to deprive so many organisations of the people who keep them going. Or as we are all meant to be living longer are the government assuming that we can do this sort of thing in our 70s and 80s instead?

Maggiemaybe Mon 11-Jan-16 12:01:32

Another 1955 baby here! Made redundant 18 months ago and living on my small local government pension, having had my state pension date moved on by 6 years. Like others, I feel we have been kicked in the teeth. With 41 years of NI contributions, I think I have earned the pension I foolishly expected to get when turning 60 last January. My husband turned 65 the same week, so our plan was always to retire together. Another blow is that my husband got his free bus pass 6 years ago, at 60, and I don't get mine for another five years, when I'll be 66. Compounded by the fact that if I lived in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, I'd have still been eligible for free travel at 60 angry

Mhairi, I'm ashamed to say that when you were elected, I wondered how someone so young would cope as an MP. You have proved to be a force in UK politics, and a very honourable woman. Thank you so much for taking up the fight on behalf of us WASPI women.

Could I ask what influenced you to make this one of your battles?

SeasideGran1 Mon 11-Jan-16 15:41:15

Thank you again Mhairi

I am also a 50's baby born May 53, who will not receive my pension till November 2016 at 53 years and six months whilst many of my same year school friends are already getting getting their pension. I have as many years full contributions as they have but due to being a May baby will have to wait.

I also paid for my own training, haven't had a loan to pay back and haven't ever been in receipt of benefits.

It just isn't fair or equal especially the notice period that men received for 1 year deferment rather than what we received for 3 and a half years. I also signed the petition.

Please keep fighting for us.

bobcaz Mon 11-Jan-16 19:46:36

I keep hearing that women's pensions have been put back by up 3 yrs but in reality they have gone back up 6 or 7 years, mine has gone back by 5 years and 7 months. I have friends who were in the same class as me at school but being 10 months older they get their pension more than 2 yrs 9 months before me!! whoever worked out the time table? I also hear a lot about women who have a small pension and maybe some savings to fall back on, but what about us women who have nothing? I have no income of any kind but because my husband is working part time i cant claim a penny from anywhere. I am very fortunate to have a husband who is willing to support me but at 68yrs old its not very fair that he has to. I am not fit enough to go to work but not disabled, i dont want to claim benefits, i want what is rightfully mine, what i have paid into and what i believed i would get at 60! I want my pension!

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 12-Jan-16 10:33:30

Just a reminder that the webchat will start over on Mumsnet at 11am. We will copy over Mhairi's answers onto this thread as soon as they are up.

GrannyGlyn Tue 12-Jan-16 11:06:07

Thank you for standing up for us Mhairi.

I was born late April 1955 and was originally informed my pension would be mine at 63 and a bit, this unexpectedly changed to 66.

I retired at 58, on a reduced NHS pension, paid into for 32 years, following an illness which made me realise that if I didn't retire I might not reach 60!

The government should be ashamed to have taken pension years and income from women who have no such provision. There must be so many ladies out there with failing health who are now faced with having to carry on for another 6 years or struggle to survive on little or no benefits.

We expected to have our state pensions at 60, we paid for it with our contributions under that belief and arranged our lives accordingly.

I might be naive but I thought my contributions were being put into a "pot" and invested for me.

The amount of money we have lost is considerable. If you assume around £5,000 per year for 6 years, this is £30,000 EACH. How many women are affected........

I accept that retirement age should have been changed to 65 to be fair to men but this has come at a considerable price to pay for some of us.

There was talk, I thought, about some help for the most seriously affected (I think born before 5th April 1955 - I just missed this by 3 weeks!). Is this no longer the case?

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 12-Jan-16 11:17:08

Answers coming up now!

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:18:02

sharky

Thank you from me too Mhairi

I read this very interesting piece about it all paullewismoney.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/women-given-just-2-years-notice-of.html

But I struggled to get past the first point. "The Government did not write to any woman affected by the rise in pension ages for nearly 14 years after the law was passed in 1995."

How on earth can they get away with this? You can bet your bottom dollar that if it was men affected they never would have got away with it this long

Hi sharky

You are right in pointing out the absolute mess that has been made of these women's pensions in the last few years. That's why we are calling for fairer transitional arrangements in order to combat the levels of inequality that women have exeperienced through their lives. The Government must now bring forward mitigation measures and we are asking for an independent pensions commission to look into the best solution for all pension issues.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:19:56

downthelane

Dear Mhairi

I know that this was debated in the Commons for several hours last week and your motion was passed by 158 votes to zero. But the minister said that there will still be no change.

This is ludicrous. Now what?

Thank you for fighting the fight

Hi downthelane

I agree, that's ludicrous. It's bad enough that the Government benches were so empty for the whole debate but they also refused to even vote on the issue. What is the point of representing people if you won't even participate in an issue that affects as many constituents as this one? it was clear by the people that did vote that this is an issue that will not go away any time soon. That's precisely why the Government will have to act. My colleague Ian Blackford has written to the Secretary of State to highlight the hypocrisy of the Government and to ask them to take action.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:21:02

yezle

I agree with all the above posters. But would like to raise another point about the continual increase of the retirement age which is that sometimes the work that you do makes it impossible to continue in a job even though you may wish to.

As a nurse I have had to help move patients - often twice my body weight - for years and years and as a result now suffer from back problems which prevent me continuing in the role however much I might want to. So what am I supposed to do at 60 plus? Retrain? Even if I could afford it what's the point in spending a year training for a new career that will only last a couple of years? The government need to think about those of us who have done heavy work that cannot be sustained into later years. They also need to remember that unemployment is rife, particularly in the north where I live. So it is all very well telling me I need to work - and actually I would like to work - but where am I meant to find a job when I have spent the best part of 40 years doing something I can no longer do?

Hi yezle

Apart from the fact that you shouldn't have to be finding work, the reality is that many women in the same position as yourself are actually unfit to continue the work they are in. For the Government to ask women to try and find employment and to claim benefits if they can't, is also against their own ideology as this will not help to reduce public spending. It also seems hypocritical for the Government to ask women to look for opportunities when it is their austerity agenda that is reducing opportunity.

We've already seen how the disabled and the sick are bearing the brunt of austerity, but now it seems that the female pensioners will have to bear it as well.

NaughtyNanna Tue 12-Jan-16 11:43:15

Hi, I'm a February 1954 baby and have written confirmation that I have paid 46 full years of NI contributions, and I'm still working (or hoping to as I've recently been made redundant). I will not get my state pension until I'm almost 65.5 years old AND I've just discovered that I will not get the full amount as I apparently opted out of the SERPs system at some point.

I naively assumed that, even if this was the case, my contributions over and above the minimum 35 years of contributions would go towards making up the full state pension amount. How wring could I be - and apparently I cannot reduce my contributions even now despite gaining no pension benefit from them.

I'm a full supporter of redistributive taxes and very happy to continue to contribute towards the NHS and other universal benefits but it seems very, very unfair that my continued contributions cannot be used in part to make up an alleged shortfall in my state pension amount when I finally get it.

Thank you so much for your support and I hope this particular point might be part of the discussions in the independent Pensions Commission work - please let us know if there is anything more we can do to make sure the commission is agreed and with a broad, thorough remit to address these issues.

Kayteeb53 Tue 12-Jan-16 11:52:32

Thank you for all your support Mhairi. I am a 1953 woman. I took voluntary redundancy just before I was 59, thinking my redundancy money would see me through till 60. Then was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have finished treatment but the illness has impacted my energy and there are not too many jobs for 62 year old women.
I lost both my parents but really feel for the women who give up work to become carers. It is usually the woman who sacrifices her job to take on this role, and I think this is a fundamental reason why men and women's pension requirements are different. It is rare that the man gives up work.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 12:14:02

Kayteeb53

Thank you for all your support Mhairi. I am a 1953 woman. I took voluntary redundancy just before I was 59, thinking my redundancy money would see me through till 60. Then was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have finished treatment but the illness has impacted my energy and there are not too many jobs for 62 year old women.
I lost both my parents but really feel for the women who give up work to become carers. It is usually the woman who sacrifices her job to take on this role, and I think this is a fundamental reason why men and women's pension requirements are different. It is rare that the man gives up work.

Hi kayteeb53

Sorry to hear about your illness - hope things are going well.

You're absolutely correct. One of the rebuttals they Government gives to the arguments put forward by WASPI is that it's all okay because women will do better under the new single tier state pension due to come in April this year. But the Government fails to acknowledge the fact that women will only receive the higher state pension on the condition that they have paid 35 years' worth of NI. This clearly disadvantages many women like yourself who have not had the chance to build up that much NI because of things such as unpaid care. Unpaid carers save consecutive governments an absolute fortune when it comes to care - it's time the Government learned to appreciate this and treat people with the respect they deserve.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 12-Jan-16 12:15:18

Many (many) questions for Mhairi on Mumsnet too so lots of interesting answers there as well - you can find them HERE

And, of course, a big thank you to Mhairi for coming in and for her support of issues that affect so many gransnetters