Monday, 27 July 2009



The UK government has been lambasted following the publication of European statistics showing that the number of pensioners living in poverty in the UK is among the highest in Europe with the over-65s in poorer countries, including Romania and Poland faring better.

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson John Mason MP said the figures, which show pensioner poverty in Britain is more than a third higher than the European average, were an appalling legacy after twelve years of a Labour government.

Mr Mason, the MP for Glasgow East, said:

"These figures are an appalling legacy after twelve years of Labour government and show that Labour has singularly failed to close the gap between rich and poor created during the Thatcher years.

"Gordon Brown should hang his head in shame as banking bosses get multi-million pound rewards while pensioners live below the bread-line.

"No issue underlines more why Scotland must have full responsibility for all tax, spending and social welfare issues so that we can tackle the scourge of poverty.

"The Scottish Government is doing everything it can with the powers that are available to it. Practical steps, like freezing the Council Tax, ending food preparation charges, and extending action to end fuel poverty, are delivering - and we will do more.

"There is enormous political goodwill towards fighting poverty, and yet the UK government has failed to match its talk with action. Scotland has the will to eradicate poverty but we are being held back by a tax and benefits system that is failing thousands of people.”

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