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Powers over Pensions must be delivered to Scotland

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Powers over Pensions must be delivered to Scotland

The need for full control of welfare and pensions to be in Scotland’s hands has been highlighted again this week – as George Osborne launched his latest attack on poorer pensioners by announcing an above-earnings increase in the threshold for Savings Credit. Inverclyde Council’s SNP Leader and prospective Westminster candidate Cllr Christopher McEleny has said today that “pensions will be one of several priorities for him if selected as SNP candidate.”

As announced last week, the UK Government has increased the threshold for Savings Credit by 5.1 per cent – abandoning the previously held principle that the threshold should always increase by earnings.

The number of recipients of Savings Credit has already declined massively – falling by more than 60,000 since May 2010 – and the UK Government has announced that the benefit is set to be scrapped for all new pensioners from 2016.

Savings Credit is paid to poorer pensioners who have saved for their retirement. A single pensioner could receive up to £16.80 per week or £20.70 per week for a couple – compared to the 2011-12 figures of £20.52 for single people and £27.09 for a couple.

Commenting, SNP Leader at Inverclyde council and prospective Westminster candidate Cllr Christopher McEleny said:

“This is just the latest example of Westminster’s systematic and sustained attack on the poor – and this time it is poorer pensioners who are the victims.

“This latest cut will hit poorer pensioners in Inverclyde who have planned ahead and worked hard for their retirement – and the fact that the latest hike in the threshold is above the rate of earnings is a further insult and is typical of Westminster’s attitude to our older people.

“It is cuts like this which show exactly why full control over welfare and pensions must be in Scotland’s hands, rather than in the hands of a Tory chancellor who seems intent on balancing the books on the backs of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Inverclyde.

“If I have the privilege of being selected the SNP candidate for Inverclyde better pensions will be one of several key priorities I will set out. I will promote the case at next year’s general election that full welfare and pension powers must be transferred to Scotland – to ensure our older people get a fair deal.”

” with the power to have a Pension model that suits the needs of Scotland certainly one thing I will be pushing for is a reduction in UK state pension age. Young people today are being asked to work until they are nearly 70 before they get a state pension. That’s simply unacceptable.”

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