Scottish Pensioners 'Worse Off'

1 August 2014, 06:57 | Updated: 1 August 2014, 07:58

Thousands of hard-saving Scottish pensioners are worse off since the Tory-led government started cutting benefits, according to the SNP.

Some 50,000 Scottish pensioners have lost benefits since 2010 with a cut of £90 million to savings credit, House of Commons research distributed by the SNP shows.

The Scottish Government has pledged a guaranteed pension of £160 a week from 2016-17, a triple lock and the continuation of savings credit in an independent Scotland.

But Pensions Minister Steve Webb says the state pension is at its highest level in over 20 years, and challenged the SNP to explain how it will fund its "extravagant benefits''.

SNP work and pensions spokeswoman Eilidh Whiteford said: "This benefit cut is hitting poorer pensioners who have planned ahead and worked hard for their retirement.

"The UK government gives the impression it wants to protect pensioners, but they have cut a massive £90 million since 2010 which is leaving tens of thousands of pensioners in Scotland worse off.

"It's a real shame that Scottish pensioners who have put savings away for their old age are being hit in this way.

"Scotland has paid more in taxes in each and every one of the last 30 years than the rest of the UK, much of it through the efforts of those who are now in retirement.

"Following a Yes vote in September, we can make Scotland's wealth work for the people who live here - which includes a fairer welfare system and a better deal for our pensioners.''

Savings credit is paid to poorer pensioners who have saved for their retirement. A single pensioner could receive up to £20.52 per week, or £27.09 per week for a couple.

The benefit is to be scrapped for all new pensioners in 2016.

Mr Webb said: "It's easy to promise people higher pensions, earlier retirements, and extravagant benefits when you don't give any consideration to how it's all going to be paid for or what other public services will have to suffer as a result.

"Until the pro-independence movement can explain how all their various promises will be funded, they will continue to lack credibility.

"The very reason the triple lock exists, and the state pension is currently at its highest level relative to earnings since 1992, is because this UK Government brought it in - so it's both disingenuous and absurd for anyone to cite it as a reason to support independence.''