Councillors have gone head to head in a long-running row over changes to the state pension age.
Millions of women across the UK have been affected by controversial changes to the system to equalise the state pension age for men and women, meaning many women will need to wait up to six years longer for their state pension.
And the issue fell under the spotlight at a meeting of all councillors yesterday, after SNP group leader Stephen Flynn lodged a motion calling on the UK Government to “make fair” transitional state pension arrangements for all women born in the 1950s.
Speaking in the Town House, he said: “A number of women across the north-east, Scotland and UK are being detrimentally impacted by decisions made by the UK Government.
“On Sunday, I had the pleasure of chatting to a fantastic lady and she said the biggest thing impacting her life was she always thought she’d have a pension and that has never come to fruition.
“She’s now having to rely on a food bank. She’s found herself in extreme financial difficulty through absolutely no fault of her own.
“It’s absolutely right that as a local authority we take the opportunity before us to say what has happened is morally wrong and that the UK government should find a fair settlement to compensate.”
Jenny Laing, co-leader of the local authority, put forward an amendment which accepted the terms of Mr Flynn’s motion but called for the council to also write to the First Minister urging the Scottish Government to use their powers to provide financial assistance to the women affected, should the UK Government fail to act.
She said: “We want to reduce the plight of the Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality) women which is why we should be exploring every avenue possible.
“Rather than join forces with us to speak with a collective voice, it appears the SNP would rather use this opportunity to blame the Westminster blame game.”
Councillor Laing’s amendment was accepted 26 votes to 19, meaning the Scottish Government will also be contacted over the matter.
Linda Carmichael, of the Aberdeen Waspi group, who attended yesterday’s debate, said she was “disappointed” it had turned into “political football”.
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She added: “It’s such an important issue to women across the country but obviously the ones in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are the ones closest to my heart.
“We’re all really suffering and we really just need a solution.
“At the moment we would say there’s about 4,500 women affected in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
“Country-wide and in Aberdeen we have women who are sofa surfing, who have sold their homes, who are relying on their 80-year-old parents or their children just to get through life. We all thought this would be resolved after a year or so but we’re still going through this.”
Mr Flynn said: “Pensions are a reserved matter and all Waspi women deserve our support to try and pressure the UK Government to give these women the money they are rightly due.”
An SNP spokesman added: “It speaks volumes that Labour politicians are teaming up with the Tories to try and pass the buck on this by suggesting it is the responsibility of the Scottish Government.”