Friday, 21 March 2014

Independence will benefit women

Following International Women’s Day last Saturday (March 8), local MSP Margaret Burgess has highlighted ‘six gains of independence’ for women – improved childcare, the minimum wage, equalities issues, pensions, benefits and economic opportunities.

Mrs Burgess said, “We know that independence will let us create a fairer, more prosperous country and the Scottish Government’s transformational childcare policies will allow us to increase female participation in the workforce, boosting the Scottish economy.

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

The SNP MSP added, “With independence, Scotland will have responsibility for equalities legislation, which will allow us to tackle the 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 the retirement age reflects Scottish circumstances.”

The MSP for Cunninghame South, which includes Stevenston, said a ‘YES’ vote in September’s Independence Referendum will “protect the independence of women in the benefits system,” adding, “Under the Tory’s 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.

“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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