Updated: Apr 17
Local MP, Amy Callaghan, has warned that pensioners in East Dunbartonshire are being hammered by Tory cuts and broken promises – as new analysis shows pensioners will be £2,600 worse off on average following the Chancellor’s decision to scrap the Triple Lock on state pensions at the UK Budget.
Nearly a quarter of people who live in East Dunbartonshire are of pension age, a higher proportion than the Scottish and UK averages. Ms Callaghan, who is also the SNP Pensions Spokesperson, said that her constituency was being “disproportionately impacted” by the changes, and has called for Scotland to have “the full powers to protect pensioners”.
Analysis from former UK Pensions Minister Sir Steve Webb shows pensioners will lose £520 next year, and a cumulative £2600 over the next five years, due to the decision to scrap the Triple Lock. With the OBR forecasting inflation will rise by over 4%, it means millions of pensioners could end up with a real terms cut in their state pension next year.
The UK Budget also failed to reverse the Tory decision to scrap the free TV licence for over 75s and failed to deliver any increase to key social security payments for pensioners, including the winter fuel payment, cold weather payment and the warm homes discount. Ian Browne, a retirement planning expert at Quilter, described this as "a huge blow to millions across the UK".
In March, the UK government's Households Below Average Income (HBAI) statistics revealed UK pensioner poverty levels have risen to a 15 year high - with 2.1million UK pensioners (18%) now living in poverty after housing costs, an increase of 200,000 on 2018/19.
Separate analysis from the House of Commons Library, in June, revealed UK pensions are the least generous in north west Europe by comparison to the average wage. UK pensioners currently receive around a quarter (28%) of the average working wage. In stark contrast, pensioners in Luxembourg and Austria receive 90%.
Commenting, Amy Callaghan MP said:
"After a decade of Tory austerity cuts, there are pensioners in East Dunbartonshire who are really struggling.
“Two-and-a half-thousand pensioners in our local area are entitled to Pension Credit, but over £3.2million went unclaimed in 2019. That’s older people in East Dunbartonshire not getting the support they are entitled to.
“Now we have a Tory Chancellor making things evens worse by scrapping the Triple Lock and freezing the benefits that older people depend on.
"By choosing to make these damaging cuts, the UK government has taken hundreds of pounds away from pensioners in my constituency and across Scotland. This will leave many older people struggling to get by.
"East Dunbartonshire has been disproportionately impacted by the Budget, and yet there’s little we can do to protect local pensioners. That’s why we must become an independent country and have the full powers to protect pensioners and tackle poverty."