Kenneth Gibson MSP has slammed the UK Tory Government for their covert changes to state pensions, which deprive some North Ayrshire pensioners of up to £7,000 per year.
Changes to benefits for mixed-age couples – which will be introduced from 15 May 2019 - were quietly released by Tory ministers on the eve of Theresa May’s humiliating Brexit deal defeat earlier this week.
Currently, couples can claim Pension Credit, an income related benefit meant to top up the state pension as long as one partner is of pension age. Universal Credit will reverse this, meaning a mixed-age couple will be defined by the working-age person, not the pensioner.
Age UK claim that the changes could leave some pensioners almost £7,000 worse off per year and warn that it could leave “some of the poorest pensioners paying a hefty price for having a younger partner.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Pensioners with younger partners are set to lose out on hundreds of pounds each month. People on low incomes receiving pension credit should not be forced to pay the price of Tory welfare cuts and Universal Credit.
“I am appalled, yet not surprised, that these cuts were only mentioned in a written Commons statement at 7.20pm on Monday night, while MPs held talks ahead of the vote on Theresa May‘s Brexit deal. This is classic Tory Government behaviour.
“My SNP colleagues in Westminster continually raise concerns over the Tory Government’s welfare policies and pensions are no exception. Labour has already proven they can’t be trusted with pensions either, when Gordon Brown scrapped the tax relief on dividends paid into pension funds, robbing them of an estimated £10 billion per year.
“It is becoming clearer to more and more pensioners, that the only way we will ever have a fair and equal social security system, is when Scotland is independent.”