The SNP has called for the Tory government to rule out an attack on pensioners’ incomes – after it emerged the newly appointed Tory Work and Pensions secretary called for pensioners to be forced to pay National Insurance.
After a backlash from pensioners, Thérèse Coffey MP defended her proposals, published in a paper for the Free Enterprise Group – saying “I do not regret writing what I did about National Insurance….Why should someone beyond the age of 65 get more take-home money…”.
The Tory MP, who will be in charge of pensions and social security, was also one of 72 registered landlord MPs who voted down a new law in 2016 that would have required landlords to make their homes fit for human habitation.
The move follows the appointment of Tim Montgomerie as Boris Johnson’s social justice adviser. Mr Montgomerie previously suggested means-testing pensions, and was a co-founder of Iain Duncan Smith’s right-wing Centre for Social Justice think tank, which proposed raising the state pension age to 75.
Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Neil Gray MP said: “The Tory government must rule out any plan to further attack older people’s incomes by forcing pensioners to pay National Insurance.
“It is deeply worrying that the new Tory Work and Pensions Secretary proposed increasing taxes on pensioners – who are already struggling to get by after a decade of Tory cuts.
“The Tories cannot be trusted on pensions. Under the Tories, pensioners have been pushed into poverty and hardship.
“The UK now has a higher pension age, the lowest state pension in the developed world, injustice facing WASPI women, and cuts to key benefits like the free TV licence.
“Proposals to increase the state pension age to 75, introduce means-testing, and impose National Insurance payments would only leave older people poorer.
“The SNP will continue to press the UK government for a better deal for pensioners and justice for WASPI women – but Westminster has proven time and again it is incapable of delivering for older people.
“It is clear that the only way to properly protect social security, pensioners and advance Scotland’s interests is to become an equal and independent European country.”