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'We can afford to fork out money for palaces… but we can’t pay pensions'

Posted on 01 December 2016 by Nancy Kelley, Director of Policy Research Centre .

Mhairi Black’s impassioned speech on changes to the state pension age for women born in the 1950s is a real barnstormer.  You should definitely watch it.

Part of what makes it so powerful is the comparison she makes between Parliament’s willingness to invest huge sums in refurbishing ‘the Queen’s house’ (Buckingham Palace), and its apparent unwillingness to protect the pensions of women born in the 1950s. 

But there’s nothing special about government, or Parliament in this regard.  If there is one thing that the British Social Attitudes survey tells us, it’s that the British public are really, really keen on the royal family.

Imp Monarchy

Support for the monarchy is a bit lower in Scotland, but in 2012 a healthy 65% of the Scottish public thought that the monarchy was ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important.  And data from our 2013 Scottish Social Attitudes survey shows that even in an independent Scotland, 62% think Scotland should ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ continue to share a monarch with the rest of the UK.

So when Mhairi Black talks about the need to be accountable, and let ‘the people at home know we are listening to them’, that might mean protecting the women who are losing out on their pensions *and* doing up the Queen’s house.

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