SNP MSP for Clydesdale Aileen Campbell has slammed the Tory government for “sneaking out” changes to state pensions, which could affect older couples in Clydesdale to the tune of £7,000 per year.
Under cover of the ongoing Brexit row, the MSP alleges that the UK government “quietly” released changes to benefits for mixed-age couples which will take effect from May 15 this year.
She explained that couples can currently 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.
Ms Campbell went on to say that experts have claimed that the changes could leave some pensioners almost £7,000 worse off per year and the charity Age UK warned that it could leave “some of the poorest pensioners paying a hefty price for having a younger partner.”
She went on: “It’s concerning that the Westminster 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.
“Amid the chaos and distraction of Brexit, those who may be affected by this change in Clydesdale 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 crucial Brexit vote when attentions were directed elsewhere.
“Serious concerns over the Tory government’s welfare policies have already been raised by my SNP colleagues at Westminster and, at Holyrood, the SNP will continue to tackle poverty and create a social security system based on equality, fairness and dignity.
“I will be writing to the DWP to ask for a reverse to this appalling cut which will hit those on the lowest incomes.”