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SNP: George Osborne 'obsessed by unnecessary austerity'

Mhairi Black accused George Osborne of being Credit: PA

Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of having an obsession with "unnecessary austerity" in a debate over pension inequality.

Mhairi Black, the UK's youngest MP, told an SNP spring conference in Glasgow that pensions are not a benefit but a right.

Ms Black said the previous Conservative government failed to publicise a change in the law which brought the age women receive the state pension into line with that for men.

While the retirement age is currently 66, she said some females are "only now finding out they will be waiting six years to get their pension" instead of getting it when they turn 60.

Still, women are only now hearing about this

And I repeat myself because there seem to be ministers in London who just aren't quite getting it - pensions are not a benefit, they are a right.

– Mhairi Black MP, Paisley and Renfrewshire South

She also decried Mr Osborne's "unnecessary austerity obsession", saying he was willing to take from the young, disabled and pensioners.

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Ex-pensions minister backs Chancellor's decision

Steve Webb has backed the scrapping of a planned pension reform but says he wants guarantees Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Former pensions minister Steve Webb has given his backing to Chancellor George Osborne's decision to scrap potential pension reforms.

Webb, who is now the director of policy for Royal London, said he did support a flat rate but now was not the time for further upheaval as people needed help to encourage them to save.

He told the BBC: "There is a case for reform, for giving everybody the same generous rate of relief. One of the worries was that the Chancellor wouldn't just take the existing pot and just reallocate it but he would take billions out - there really are tens of billions of pounds at stake in tax relief.

"Given that we are actually not saving enough, we need more help to save for our pensions, one of the big fears was that this would all be about the hole in the budget not about promoting long-term saving."

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