REPORT REVEALS PENSIONER POVERTY SHAME
SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson John Mason MP has seized on the publication of a report today by the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee which criticises the benefits system as a key cause of poverty - with some 1.7m pensioners failing to claim money to which they are entitled.
The Commons Committee report follows the publication of European statistics earlier this week 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.
Mr Mason, the MP for Glasgow East, said:
"The benefits system has failed poor pensioners, and the UK Government is just not doing enough to help lift people out of poverty. After twelve years in government Labour has failed to close the gap between rich and poor created during the Tory years.
"It is outrageous that the complexities of the benefits system have actually discouraged millions of older people from claiming state entitlements that they should properly receive. The system that should be helping people in poverty is actually working against them.
"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.”