Broken promises leave our hard-hit pensioners worse off
In the never ending fog of the latest Westminster corruption scandal, I am always fearful that serious issues impacting on Scotland can get buried, and not receive the scrutiny they deserve.
While the current pension situation is grim and remains under Westminster control, it is unfortunately about to get worse because of the recent Tory Budget. UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has now suspended one of the UK government’s 2019 General Election key manifesto pledges on pensions, which dates back to 2010. The Tories promised to keep the pensions ‘triple lock’ – designed to make sure pensions kept pace with both inflation and the cost of living. That promise has been binned – along with numerous other broken manifesto promises – when the Chancellor confirmed the pensions triple lock has been removed.
This treatment of our pensioners follows repeated examples of maladministration by Whitehall and the DWP, not least the injustice of the WASPI women over pension age entitlement. The UK is the country with the lowest state pension in North West Europe, another fact often buried.
Indeed, state pensions in independent countries similar to or smaller than Scotland receive a much higher proportion of the average working wage (64 per cent) than UK pensioners (28 per cent) and more than the average of countries in north west Europe (62 per cent). Yet again, women will be hit the hardest in the scrapping of the triple lock as they are almost twice as likely to rely on the benefit, and not least widows. Scots pensioners will be, on average, £2600 worse off over the next five years.
Under Westminster control, Scotland’s pensioners continue to be criminally short-changed. The Scottish Government does what it can to mitigate the impacts but with inflation forecasts of four per cent, it means Scottish pensioners could end up with a real terms cut in their state pension next year. Whatever happened to the broad shoulders of the UK?
It is time for Westminster to end its corruption, and get a grip on grass roots reality to address the multiple betrayals to our pensioners – including ensuring all those who have been underpaid their state pensions get the money they are owed.
• Karen Adam can be contacted by emailing [email protected]