HELENSBURGH'S MP has presented a petition to the House of Commons from women across Argyll and Bute who have been hit by government changes to the state pension age.

Brendan O'Hara presented the petition on behalf of 4,600 'WASPI women' at Westminster on Tuesday.

All the women affected were born on or after April 6, 1951 and, under the 1995 and 2011 Pensions Act, will not be able to draw their pension until they are 66 years of age, a full six years later than they had planned.

The WASPI - Women Against State Pension Inequality - campaign is not against the raising of the state pension age, but instead is calling on the government to introduce reasonable transitional arrangements, giving them adequate time to make alternative plans for their retirement.

Many of the women affected by the changes in the law were given little or no notice of these changes at all.

After presenting the petition, Mr O'Hara said: “The situation that these women find themselves in, through no fault of their own, is scandalous.

"They have been hit twice - when the state pension age was raised to 65 in line with men and then again when it was increased for men and women to 66 years – it’s a double whammy.

"It is utterly shameful that this Tory government have ducked their responsibility to the WASPI women. Pensions are not a privilege but a contract and the UK government has broken that contract."

One of the Argyll and Bute campaigners, Helensburgh resident Ann Greer, travelled to London in August and to Glasgow last month to take part in protests on the subject.

Mr O'Hara continued: “I was delighted to present this petition on behalf of all WASPI campaigners across Argyll and Bute affected by this, and am calling on the UK government to introduce measures that will mitigate the hardship that many of these women are now facing.

"I was joined by my SNP colleagues and many MPs from across the political spectrum, so I hope this sends a clear signal to the government of the strength of support they have in parliament and its time that they put right this wrong.”

The petition reads:

"The petition of residents of Argyll and Bute declares that as a result of the way in which the 1995 Pensions Act and the 2011 Pensions Act were implemented, women born in the 1950s (on or after 6th April 1951) have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age; further that hundreds of thousands of women have had significant changes imposed on them with little or no personal notice; further that implementation took place faster than promised; further that this gave no time to make alternative pension plans; and further that retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences.

"The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to make fair transitional arrangements for all women born in the 1950s (on or after 6th April 1951) who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age."