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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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MP Highlights Six 'Gains of Independence' for Women

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Following Nicola Sturgeon’s keynote address at the Scottish Women's Convention on Saturday, SNP MP for Banff & Buchan Dr Eilidh Whiteford has highlighted six “gains of independence” for women – in childcare, the minimum wage, equalities issues, pensions, benefits, and economic opportunities.

Commenting, Eilidh said:

“We know that independence will give us the ability to create a fairer, more prosperous country and Nicola Sturgeon’s speech comes as a welcome confirmation of the gains of independence for women in particular.

“The Scottish Government’s transformational childcare policies will allow us to increase female participation in the labour market, with a resultant boost to the Scottish economy.

“Many women work in low paid jobs, and with the guarantee that the minimum wage will rise at least in line with inflation every year, we can make sure that the lowest paid in our society are treated fairly and improve the standards of living of families across Scotland.

“With independence, Scotland will have responsibility for equalities legislation, which will allow us to tackle the deep seated gender inequalities that have held women back for too long.

“As things stand, young women entering the workforce will have to work until they are 70, while life expectancy in Scotland is still lower than elsewhere. With independence, we will be able to make sure that the retirement age reflects Scottish circumstances.

“A Yes vote will allow us to protect the independence of women in the benefits system. Under the Tories’ controversial welfare reform plans, Universal Credit will be paid in a single household payment, which could lead to a return of the ‘male breadwinner’ notion, leading to real hardship for many women and children. The Scottish Government would reverse those changes and protect the right of individuals to receive payments in their own right.

“Finally, independence will allow us to create more employment opportunities for women. The latest figures show that female employment has risen by 62,000 in the last year. With the full powers of independence, we will be able to do so much more.”

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