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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Whiteford Speaks Up for Workers' Pension Rights in Commons

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

LABOUR BETRAY PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS WHILE TORY PENSIONS BILL SAILS THROUGH PARLIAMENT

SNP Work & Pensions spokesperson and local MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has slammed the Labour Party for allowing the Tory led government’s Public Sector Pension plans to sail through the House of Commons during its final reading.

With the UK Government threatening to reduce the Scottish budget, Labour needs to explain to Scotland’s public sector workers why they have not opposed these plans. Only last week in the Scottish Parliament, Labour claimed to have deep concerns over changes to public sector pensions but their masters south of the border have been found wanting.

Commenting tonight after the vote on the Public Service Pensions Bill, Dr Whiteford has condemned the coalition’s plans for public sector pensions without proper consultation, causing great uncertainty and insecurity amongst Scotland’s public sector.

Speaking after the vote, Dr Whiteford said:

“These punitive reforms are all about the UK Government's deficit reduction plans, and have nothing to do with securing sustainable pensions. The need for affordable, sustainable and fair public sector pensions is of critical importance to everyone, which is why the short term cash grab by the UK Government is so concerning.

“Pensions reform in Scotland should be taken forward in partnership with public sector workers rather than being imposed by the London Treasury. This bill places new and significant constraints on the Scottish Government’s ability to deliver a fair agreement which reflects Scottish circumstances."

Dr Whiteford went on to say:

"The Bill appears to leave no flexibility for Scottish public servants’ principal concern which is around scheme Normal Pension Ages being equalised with the State Pension Age, or age 60 for police officers and fire-fighters. The UK Government continues to have the power to meddle and influence issues which are central to Scotland’s public sector workers and which should be for the Scottish Government to decide.

“Instead of uniting against these punitive reforms, Labour should be ashamed of themselves for sitting idle and letting the Tories off the hook whilst betraying public sector workers. The SNP will continue to ensure that the voice of ordinary public sector workers is heard in the UK Parliament."

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