Monday, January 20, 2020

UK pensioners ‘suffering the worst poverty rate in western Europe’

Tories warned against further rises to the state pension age.

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The SNP has warned the Tory government against a “callous assault” on UK pension policy by increasing the state pension age, which they say would have dire and disproportionate consequences across the UK.

The Tories’ threat comes off the back of a report published by the Centre for Social Justice, which is chaired by the former Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith MP.

The report suggests that the UK can no longer afford the current plan to raise the pension age to 67 in 2028 then 68 by 2046, and has argued that it must be speeded up. 

The findings mean that the state pension age could rise to 75 over the next 16 years.

However, SNP MP Mhairi Black has said that any further increases in the state pension age could have a hugely disproportionate impact on Scotland due to its unique demographic needs.

The MP also called on the UK government to heed warnings raised by Pension Reforms and Old Age Inequalities in Europe in a new report that found the proportion of elderly people living in severe poverty in the UK is five times what it was in 1986 – the largest increase among western European countries.

Last month, the SNP MP also wrote to Boris Johnson calling on him to reform pension and savings policy after it emerged that there is £20 billion worth of lost pension pots in the UK. 

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The SNP’s Westminster Pensions spokesperson, Mhairi Black MP, said: “The Tory’s government’s approach to the UK’s elderly population and state pension policy has been cruel and callous, and has punished the UK’s elderly population. 

“Rather than taking on board policies written up by one of the architects of Tory austerity, the Prime Minister must instead take action to address the dire levels of pensioner poverty in the UK – with reports highlighting that the UK’s elderly population are suffering the worst poverty rate in Western Europe.

“Pensioner poverty has been an issue that has been continuously ignored by the Tory government for too long.

“From the burning injustices facing the WASPI women who have been denied the right to their state pension, to the stripping away of pension credit for the over 75s, this government’s attitude towards its older people is shameful.

“The Tory government must take a step back and tackle these injustices and the UK’s shocking pensioner poverty levels, rather than ramping up the threats.”

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