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

(155 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

BojanaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Jan-16 17:36:15

Hello

We’re pleased to announce that the SNP’s Mhairi Black MP will be joining us at MNHQ on Tuesday 12th January between 11am and 12 midday. 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 - and as ever, please remember our Webchat Guidelines: one question per poster, and please do be polite.

Thanks
MNHQ

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:05:10

TresDesolee

Hi Mhairi. Can you sum up the pensions issue in one sentence? I've tried to get my head around it a couple of times but suspect that for those not directly affected it may seem a bit, uh, difficult to comprehend!

And, what's your favourite biscuit (sorry, someone's got to!)

Hi TresDesolee

To sum up, the Government's view of pensions is that they are a benefit when in actual fact they are a contract and to put it simply the Government has broken that contract.

My favourite biscuit is a Tunnocks caramel wafer.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:08:40

RowanMumsnet

Some questions from Gransnetters for Mhairi:

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. Cambia

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? NW950

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. sharky

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. downthelane

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? yezle

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? mrshm

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? Maggiemaybe

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 11:12:17

RowanMumsnet

Some questions from Gransnetters for Mhairi:

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. Cambia

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? NW950

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. sharky

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. downthelane

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? yezle

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? mrshm

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? Maggiemaybe

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 he hypocrisy of the Government and to ask them to take action.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 12-Jan-16 11:15:02

And another one from Gransnet:

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! bobcaz

5050parliament Tue 12-Jan-16 11:17:39

Great to have a young woman like Mhairi Black in Parliament standing up for women and speaking her mind. Need more like her.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:19:06

RowanMumsnet

Some questions from Gransnetters for Mhairi:

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. Cambia

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? NW950

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. sharky

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. downthelane

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? yezle

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? mrshm

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? Maggiemaybe

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.

GeekLove Tue 12-Jan-16 11:20:52

Following on from the recent violence against women in Cologne and other European cities, what do we need to do to ensure that this does not happen again?
How would you propose to confront ingrained misogynistic attitudes that although are more obvious in recent immigrants are still ingrained in a large part of society?

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:21:59

Baconyum

The pension issue afaik doesn't just affect women born in the 1950's. Agree with the comment on not having equality of pension age while we still don't have equality in pay, conditions and employability.

As it happens I have a family member who is born in the 1950's who was a carer for 30+ years and has been treated appallingly by the govt in terms of pension but also benefits.

Mhairi will my daughter (15) even begin to see any kind of equality during her working lifetime while govt is still largely populated by wealthy, white men?

Hi Baconyum

Society is by no means equal and that's why it's so important that we encourage more women to get involved in politics. In the meantime, the best we can do, and what I hope we are doing, is holding the Government to account by pointing out the inequalities that they are creating and continuing and force them to remedy this.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:24:14

cdtaylornats

I think you were an excellent choice for Pensions. As a young worker what do you propose to do to encourage young working people tto invest in a pension

Hi cdtaylornats

As a young person myself, I think it's really important that we explain why pensions matter and how they work to young people. It's important to point out that money put aside in their working life is not money lost. It is money saved to secure an income when you no longer work. The sad reality is that pensions change more than the weather so it's important to make sure that you have something in later life. My advice to young people would be start now - I have!

mummysmummy Tue 12-Jan-16 11:28:14

hi
im a 1954 child, my state pension age has been put back twice. my state retirement age is now 66.5.
i thank mhairi for her interest in this matter.
what is the next step now and how can women themselves change the situation. my own mp is not in the least bit interested

5050parliament Tue 12-Jan-16 11:29:48

Thanks for bringing the debate about pensions and the impact on women. A really important subject. Loved your speech. Why do you think that there were there so few MPs in the chamber?

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:30:35

WestCoastDreamin

Hi Mhairi,

Having studied politics and now serving in Westminster, I'd be interested to know what you think are the best skills and values a good public representative can have? (I'm passionate about democracy but I don't believe that political fervour is particularly helpful in the day-to-day representation of constituents!). You are a talented, young politician; which of your skills and values do you think will serve your constituents best?

Also (if I can sneak in another!) How do you balance the passion to further the cause of Scottish independence with representing a no-voting constituency?

Hi WestCoastDreamin

I think the first thing a representative has to have is an understanding of the problems people in their constituency face and the empathy to appreciate them. I think qualities such as honesty and sincerity are essential. You have to be capable to be able to challenge ideas and form genuine arguments and have the ability to convey those arguments in pressurised situations.

Some people question whether I am a career politician but you have to remember what being a career politician means. It means that you are prepared to say anything, change any view and any opinion in order to please the masses rather than having genuine debate and sticking by the conclusion you arrive at on certain issues. I'd like to think I do the latter.

Pinkchampchoccies Tue 12-Jan-16 11:31:33

Apologies, my post from yesterday 19:03 was meant for another thread blush.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:33:07

ItsAllGoingToBeFine

Do you find that being female, young, and an SNP member means you get less respect from other MPs? If so, which of these is most detrimental to people taking you seriously?

Or are the Houses of Parliament actually a bastion of equality and respect?

(I think you are awesome BTW smile)

Hi ItsAllGoingToBeFine

Thanks for that!

I think in the beginning people were especially patronising to me for a combination of all the reasons you mentioned. My colleagues experienced the same dismissive attitude as I did. However, I'm glad to say that that attitude has subsided the more our colleagues see that we actually do know what we are talking about and can quite often come up with quite articulate arguments and rebuttals to the Government.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:34:07

AgentCooper

I know I've already asked a question, so please feel free to ignore, but re: your time at Glasgow Uni - QMU or GUU? wink

Hi AgentCooper

QMU - cheesy pop on a Friday was always a laugh

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:38:16

SonyaAtTheSamovar

An important issue to get a debate on. It is so patently unfair to move the retirement age at such short notice.

On a personal note : good on you Mhari, it is great to see you, a young passionate woman in parliament.

I am happy to be in the UK and think Westminster is a rather good parliament. Are you open minded enough to rethink your belief in Scottish independence? Gwaan!

Hi SonyaAtTheSamovar

It's precisely because I am open-minded that I support Scottish independence. The reality is that Scotland pays more into this Union than it gets back financially. Ultimately, Scotland deserves to get the Government it votes for. Democracy functions best when decisions are made by the people that live there. independence makes sense politically, socially and financially. I would urge you to look into this more.

And thanks for your nice words smile

SonyaAtTheSamovar Tue 12-Jan-16 11:38:18

I think choosing a Tunnocks shows we could turn you into a Westminster fan yet! [Wink]

You are very articulate Mhairi and I wish you well!

SonyaAtTheSamovar Tue 12-Jan-16 11:38:50

I timed my post well!

SonyaAtTheSamovar Tue 12-Jan-16 11:39:29

Believe me I have looked into it till my head hurt!

MorrisZapp Tue 12-Jan-16 11:39:58

Come off it, you need to ask if QMU or GUU? smile

It was goth heaven in my day.

ohdearlord Tue 12-Jan-16 11:43:40

Mhairi - in light of the attacks in Cologne, and the information now coming out from Stockholm and Malmö, how do we balance women's rights with multiculturalism? (I'm not by any means suggesting that it is only immigrant or refugee populations that cause these issues!)

claig Tue 12-Jan-16 11:49:03

Mhairi, I think you are great. I loved the way you socked it to the Labour bigwigs on TV usung passion and razor sharp logic and common sense that left that at a loss for words. I am glad you are not a "career politician". Kepp up the good work in fighting for people's rights. You are a great eample for young women and young people in holding the old cronies to account.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:51:02

GeekLove

Following on from the recent violence against women in Cologne and other European cities, what do we need to do to ensure that this does not happen again?
How would you propose to confront ingrained misogynistic attitudes that although are more obvious in recent immigrants are still ingrained in a large part of society?

Hi Geeklove

I don't think anyone can disagree on the horrific nature of the attacks and my sympathies are with all the victims.

It's important to remember that we must differentiate between immigrants and criminals and we shouldn't tar all immigrants or refugees with the same brush.

Nor should we place any burden of responsibility on the victims or on women in general to 'keep men at arm's length' or anything of the sort. I think these facts should be kept in mind by not just the electorate but by politicians and media outlets also.

As you've pointed out, misogynists exist in all race groups and in all sections of society - the best way to combat any discriminatory views is through education.

I was pleased to see that there is an ongoing inquiry and I hope that lessons will be learned.

LarrytheCucumber Tue 12-Jan-16 11:51:55

I watched the whole debate on Pensions. I thought you were brilliant and clapped at the end blush. I am only slightly affected in that I got my State pension at 61 years 10 months, but some of my former colleagues, just two years younger than me, have to wait until they are 66. I wrote to my (Conservative) MP to express disappointment that he was not in the Chamber, but he said he had a longstanding prior engagement.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:54:09

FeministWummin

Hi Mhairi,

You said before you were elected, in response to (YET ANOTHER) question about your age that you couldn't help your age any more than your sexuality or the fact that you are a woman.

Why do you think that middle-aged, middle-class white men are automatically assumed to be qualified to be members of Parliament, while you have to justify your abilities?

Hi FeministWummin

I think men are automatically assumed to be qualified because we are slowly coming out of the mindset that only men are capable and able to make tough political decisions. That's why I think my election and that of my talented female colleagues is so positive.

The SNP actively tries to encourage a wide range of people from a wide range of backgrounds to participate in their political system to allow a better representation of society.

elpth Tue 12-Jan-16 11:55:01

"Ultimately, Scotland deserves to get the Government it votes for."

But is all bar three MPs being the same party the representation Scotland voted for? Granted the fault is the first past the post Westminster system and it will be interesting to see what happens with the Holyrood elections. But can that level of dominance of Scottish politics by any one party really serve the Scottish electorate best? Surely many are not having their interests represented?

elpth Tue 12-Jan-16 11:56:58

(Totally cheering you on as a young passionate female in politics even if I wish there was a wider representation of parties)

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 11:58:24

mummysmummy

hi
im a 1954 child, my state pension age has been put back twice. my state retirement age is now 66.5.
i thank mhairi for her interest in this matter.
what is the next step now and how can women themselves change the situation. my own mp is not in the least bit interested

Hi mummysmummy

I would urge you to look up the WASPI campaign and sign the petition that they have on the go. Unfortunately, I have had many women complaining to me that their MP does not seem to be taking the issue seriously. Therefore I urge you to continue to contact your MP and inform them of as much information you have as possible. The Conservatives have campaigned a lot on their commitment to pensioners' rights - they have got this one wrong and it's time they listened to the women affected.

MetalMidget Tue 12-Jan-16 11:58:54

If Scotland achieves independence, is there any chance you could claim the West Midlands as part of Scotland?

Please?

PeachFuzzzz Tue 12-Jan-16 12:00:58

!

FeministWummin Tue 12-Jan-16 12:03:37

elpth Surely that is the fault of the Scottish Labour party for failing so spectaurlarly to retain the - long held - dominance and support that they have been afforded in Scotland? The SNP supports PR, despite the fact it benefited from it in the Westminster elections.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 12:05:37

SheSparkles

How would an independent Scotland finance itself now that the price of oil has dipped well below the £113 per barrel which SNP assured Scotland wouldn't happen?

Hi SheSparkles

Firstly, it's important to remember that all estimates of oil were incorrect, and in actual fact, the Scottish Government's estimates were more conservative than the UK Government's estimates. But secondly, all this drop in oil price serves to do is support the long-held argument of the SNP that we should have an oil fund in order to keep things steady for when the prices drop, like they just have. Lastly, it's important to remember that even if we removed all the revenue generated by oil, and imagine that Scotland had no oil whatsoever, we would still have a strong and diverse economy capable of sustaining an independent country.

PeachFuzzzz Tue 12-Jan-16 12:06:30

Sorry sent that by mistake.

Do you believe that we will still have a state pension to retire on in 20-30 years? The way the government is going I wouldn't be surprised if they got rid of it entirely.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 12-Jan-16 12:07:19

One more from Gransnet:

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. kayteeb

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 12:11:36

RowanMumsnet

One more from Gransnet:

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. kayteeb

Hi kayteeb

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.

RubySparks Tue 12-Jan-16 12:13:10

I work with mainly older people teaching IT skills including online job seeking. I had a lady aged 62 who retired from a civil service job on a small pension but now finds she needs another job as she doesn't get state pension until 66. She does already work a Saturday but can't get more hours there. She also said as she isn't claiming benefits that the job centre won't help her find a job! It seems very wrong that the change on pension age is happening so fast for a small group of women, can you campaign for a more phased in approach?

I also have the problem of being married to someone 10+ years older, he can retire in 3 years, I can retire in 16!

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 12:15:33

MetalMidget

If Scotland achieves independence, is there any chance you could claim the West Midlands as part of Scotland?

Please?

Hi MetalMidget

I appreciate the point you are making. I think the craving for alternatives to austerity exist throughout the whole of the UK and not just Scotland. I believe the best way for Scotland to get the policies it votes for is only possible through independence. In the event that Scotland does achieve independence, I truly believe and hope that this would give the courage and conviction to the parts of England that want change to pursue those changes and to demand the kind of representation they deserve.

If that's not possible, I think my granny has a spare room wink

VertigoNun Tue 12-Jan-16 12:16:30

Thank you Mhairi, for being the first politician to acknowledge the recent terrible treatment in Europe.

Thank you MNHQ for organising this webchat and I look forward to hearing via MNHQ, the Guardian and BBC defend their poor reports on the matter.

MhairiBlackMP Tue 12-Jan-16 12:19:10

PeachFuzzzz

Sorry sent that by mistake.

Do you believe that we will still have a state pension to retire on in 20-30 years? The way the government is going I wouldn't be surprised if they got rid of it entirely.

Hi PeachFuzzzz

To be completely honest, with the way things are going, I don't have high hopes that the state pension will still exist. There are politicians that seem hellbent on destroying anything created by the Welfare State and that's precisely why fights like these are so important. We have to challenge the neo-liberal attitudes which harm so many people at every opportunity.

Thanks so much for your questions. I tried to get through as many as I could and I hope it was as interesting for you as it was for me. smile

trixymalixy Tue 12-Jan-16 12:20:55

Mhairi, several people have asked about the council tax freezes. Both SNP supporters and non-SNP supporters. It's clearly important to everyone. Can you answer please?

PeachFuzzzz Tue 12-Jan-16 12:22:26

Thank you for your honesty! Keep up the good work!

DrDreReturns Tue 12-Jan-16 12:34:21

Mhairi, several people have asked about the council tax freezes. Both SNP supporters and non-SNP supporters. It's clearly important to everyone.
They've (SNP MPs) have obviously been told not to answer questions about it.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 12-Jan-16 12:51:36

SNP position on council tax: policybase.snp.org/does_the_snp_plan_to_reform_council_tax
Report from commission on local tax reform available here: localtaxcommission.scot

As far as I am aware councils are fully compensated for the freeze. Also worth noting that council tax makes up a pretty small proportion of a councils income.

AyeAmarok Tue 12-Jan-16 13:18:15

Ah, gutted I missed this!

I feel torn because I really like Mhairi and a fair number of SNP policies, but I am put off when they try and claim everything will be resolved by Independence.

Putting that to one side, MB, is a great example of a young, articulate female MP from a fairly "normal" (hate that word but can't think of a better one) background. And I'm really pleased to see her taking on proper issues like this, trying to drive forward equality.

prettybird Tue 12-Jan-16 17:11:42

I posted up earlier a link to an article about research that had shown that the councils had been over compensated for the council tax freeze.

Personally, I think austerity measures and budget cuts are more to do with the reducing block grant from Westminster than the council tax freeze.

Talking to friends and colleagues in England who work in education and the NHS, I think we've been shielded from the worst of what's been going on down there.

Roseformeplease Tue 12-Jan-16 17:37:40

No responses to my questions on equality in Scottish education, or about cuts in education linked to under-funding of councils.

As usual. Bash Westminster and rainbows sprinkled with fairy dust will follow if we vote for independence.

I am sorry, but this was one of the most disappointing web chats so far. I had high hopes that a product of Scottish education might have something to say about it.

AgentCooper Tue 12-Jan-16 18:52:00

Hate to pout, but this is the second time someone from the SNP hasn't responded to my question on a MN webchat about whether or not there'd have been contingency plans if big companies had left Scotland and left big areas of unemployment in the event of a Yes vote. And both times I got my question in nice and early.

Fair play to Mhairi, pensions are what she was here to talk about and that she did but I would really love to hear an answer to that question one day!

AyeAmarok Tue 12-Jan-16 21:33:17

AgentCooper I know what you mean, yes she was only here to talk about pensions,but she still did manage to sneak in some answers about how Independence is still the right thing even though we'd have been completely bankrupt now because of the oil price crash.

But just like how we'd have been fine without the oil money, because we have a strong and diverse economy, we also wouldn't have been impacted by all our financial services companies leaving en masse. Because they say so. Have faith!

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 12-Jan-16 21:46:29

But it didn't say she was only here to talk about Pensions, just that she'd particularly like to talk about pensions - so the earlier questions should really have been addressed too. Not everyone can arrange to be on at that time to ask a live question which is therefore why people posted some earlier.

Smoke and mirrors people, smoke and mirrors...

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 12-Jan-16 21:48:02

I work in Life and Pensions and the thought of another complete layer of Financial regulation finished it for me before it even started.

AnthonyBlanche Tue 12-Jan-16 23:20:46

I thought her answers were very predictable and disappointing. Also I know that some women seem not have realised their state pension age was going up, but it has generally been known for many years that it would be. Perhaps the lesson is that people need to make more effort to educate themselves about pensions and other financial issues.

SonyaAtTheSamovar Wed 13-Jan-16 11:33:09

This campaign is not saying pension age should not go up.

It is specific.The notice for the particular group was tiny. It is about one age range being given not enough time to make alternative arrangements.

SonyaAtTheSamovar Wed 13-Jan-16 11:33:43

And they happen to be women.

RJnomore1 Wed 13-Jan-16 21:13:04

Just catching up with this, disappointed but not surprised to note Mairi did not choose to use the opportunity to distance herself from her previous sectarian comments, as she has to the very best of my knowledge and my google abilities at no point previously done so either.

WestCoastDreamin Thu 14-Jan-16 12:17:13

I was a bit disappointed to see the 'Scotland puts more in than it gets out' myth - most have abandoned that argument as it is so easily argued and economy is, by a far margin, the least attractive and persuasive argument for independence.

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