Ronnie Cowan MP and Stuart McMillan MSP have slammed the UK Government for ‘sneaking out’ changes to state pensions, which could affect older couples in Inverclyde to the tune of £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.
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.
Experts have claimed that the changes could leave some pensioners almost £7,000 worse off per year, and Age UK warned that it could leave “some of the poorest pensioners paying a hefty price for having a younger partner.”
Ronnie Cowan MP said:
“Serious concerns over the UK Government’s welfare policies have continued to be raised at Westminster by myself and SNP colleagues and, at. I will be meeting with DWP ministers in February to discuss welfare and asking they reverse to this appalling cut, which will hit those on the lowest incomes.
“Amid the chaos and distraction of Brexit, those who may be affected by this change in Inverclyde deserve to know about it, and have been let down by UK Government attempts to ‘sneak out’ the news at 7.20pm on the night of the Brexit vote – when attentions were directed elsewhere.”
Stuart McMillan MSP added:
“It’s concerning that the UK Government tried to quietly bury the news that pensioners with younger partners are set to lose out on hundreds of pounds each month. People on low incomes and receiving pension credit should not be forced to pay the price for the Tories’ welfare cuts and chaotic Universal Credit.
“At Holyrood, the SNP will continue to tackle poverty and create a social security system based on equality, fairness and dignity.”