SNP members at the party’s conference in Edinburgh, have today given their backing to a resolution that slams the UK Tory government for introducing changes to pension credit that could see older couples in Scotland out of pocket to the tune of £7,000 a year.
Currently, if one partner in a couple is over the state retirement age and eligible they can claim pension credit.
However, new changes brought in by the Tories at Westminster that take effect on 15th May 2019 will remove that provision forcing the working age partner to claim Universal Credit instead – decreasing payments by around £140 a week.
Age UK has supported the SNP’s calls for the UK government to reverse these damaging changes.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The Tory government should ashamed – these unnecessary changes will punish Scottish pensioners simply for having a working age partner.
“Universal Credit has been a complete disaster, pushing working families across Scotland into poverty and hardship – now the Tories want to force pensioners onto the same system.
“These changes were snuck in through the back door as the UK government Ministers shamelessly tried to bury the announcement in the middle of their Brexit chaos.
“SNP members have today sent a clear message to Westminster that these changes must be reversed immediately.”
Age Scotland’s Chief Executive Brian Sloan said: “These changes will have a devastating impact on the lives of some of the poorest pensioners in Scotland.
“Around one in six pensioners living in Scotland are in poverty and this retrograde move will do nothing to improve this.
“Beyond the Pension Credit support, these mixed age couples could also miss out on a range of ‘passported benefits’ such as housing benefit, council tax reduction, cold weather payments, support for dental and eyecare costs, perhaps even the warm home discount.
“All in, this could mean that the loss of financial support for those on the lowest income could be well over £7000 a year. That is wholly unacceptable and the UK Government must change course.
“It is vital that older people ensure that they claim everything they are entitled to.
“The Age Scotland Helpline offers free benefit and entitlement checks and can support older people with pension credit claims. Call 0800 12 44 222 before the 15th May for information and advice about these changes.”
Disclaimer: This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).