South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine is urging more women to engage with the debate around Scottish independence, highlighting the opportunities offered by the referendum.

The SNP MSP said that women had the most to gain from a Yes vote.

Ms McAlpine’s remarks come on the back of comments made at the weekend by Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary, Margaret Curran.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:

“Margaret Curran is absolutely right when she says we need to engage with woman across Scotland in the referendum debate.  One of the huge gains of a Yes vote is that the Scottish Parliament will take far better decisions than Westminster on the economy, welfare and social policy to boost the circumstances and opportunities for all.

“The welfare state is being dismantled by Westminster and woman are being the hardest hit – I believe that women have the most to gain from a Yes vote and an independent Scotland.

“Labour rightly lambasts decisions taken at Westminster on pensions, tax and maternity leave which damage the interests of women in particular – yet they prefer to have these vital areas of policy decided by Tories in London, even though David Mundell is the only Tory MP in Scotland, rather than in an independent Scottish Parliament.

“It is only with the financial powers of an independent Scotland that we can deliver the policies the SNP have pledged – to transform childcare to Scandinavian standards, building up to 1,140 hours for all children from age one to primary school, which will help more women into the workplace; increase the minimum wage by at least the cost of living every year; reverse the welfare reforms that will hit women the hardest, particularly the plan to pay benefit to the household instead of directly to second earners; protect women’s pensions; and guarantee more women in the boardroom.

“These are just some of the things we can achieve with a Yes vote.

She added:

“Margaret Curran is right that both sides have a duty to provide information, which is exactly why the Scottish Government produced ‘Scotland’s Future’, a detailed 670-page guide to an independent Scotland – while the No campaign refuse to publish any information or answer any questions about the dangers and downsides of a No vote.

“The reality is that women will look at both sides of the argument, and consider whether the best future for them and their families is a Scotland making its own decisions to build a fairer, more prosperous society – or a Westminster system that is destroying the very welfare system that has helped women achieve greater equality”

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What Labour say about how Westminster decisions are damaging women:


 Autumn Statement is the biggest attack on women for a generation – Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper…

… New figures from the independent House of Commons Library today show women are hit twice as hard as men by the Autumn Statement which the Chancellor George Osborne delivered in the House of Commons on Tuesday…

…Ed Miliband said:

“This is the biggest attack on women in a generation…”

1 December 2011



There is however one more group of citizens who struggle to work – and struggle to be better off in work.

They are people who also pay in – and yet don’t back get back out what they need to help them work.

They are Britain’s working mothers…

… Just like families everywhere, our families are really feeling the pinch right now – and lots of mums are looking to get into work to help top up the family income, especially now tax credits have been cut back so savagely and because bills are spiralling up and up.

Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, in a speech to the Resolution Foundation on childcare and women’s employment rates

1 July 2013



“The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today hits women harder than ever. House of Commons library analysis shows women will be hit four times harder by the new direct tax, tax credit and benefit changes they have analysed.

 Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities

5 December 2012



“New mums are being betrayed by this Government. They face a triple whammy from maternity discrimination made easier by Ministers, big cuts to family support by George Osborne, and the cost of living with a new baby is far outstripping wages.

“Discrimination against women who take maternity leave is a hidden outrage, and a complete waste for the economy. The revelation that up to 50,000 women a year could be losing their jobs on maternity leave is a shocking one….”

Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities

27 August 2013



Hundreds of thousands of women close to retirement set to lose out over state pension reforms – McClymont…

…” Hundreds of thousands of women close to retirement are now set to lose out thanks to this Government’s plans.”

Gregg McClymont MP, Labour’s Shadow Pensions Minister, responding to the Work and Pensions Committee report on State Pension reform

4 April 2013