Jo repeated calls for an end to complex and unpopular mass means-testing
Jo Swinson has challenged the UK Government over new figures revealing that 90,000 Scots pensioners are missing out on their Pension Credit entitlement.
Speaking to Minister for Work and Pensions James Purnell, Jo called on the Government to move away from the current system of means-tested benefits.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, she said:
“Despite the efforts of the Government, and indeed many honourable members on all sides of the House, to publicise pension credit entitlements, across Scotland nearly 90,000 pensioners are missing out on the pension credit they are entitled to.
“Does the Minister think this highlights the injustice of the complex and bureaucratic means-testing system of pensions and surely it is high time to move to a system where the Government pays a decent state pension, as of right, to everyone?”
Commenting later, Jo said:
“This worrying new figure reveals how badly the current pensions system is letting down vulnerable Scottish pensioners.
“Mass means-testing, which requires pensioners to fill in a 35-page form to apply for pension credit, is at the heart of the problem.
“To achieve a fair state pension for everyone, particularly women and carers, we need to cut back on complex and unpopular means-testing and create a citizens’ pension set at a decent level for all.”
An answer to a Parliamentary Question by John Barrett MP on 6th March 2007 stated: “The latest estimates showed that 2.7 million households were receiving pension credit, and this includes 283,480 households in Scotland.”
The number of pensioners eligible for pension credit in the UK is 4.33million. The estimated figure for households eligible in Scotland is 350,000, with 450,000 individuals eligible. The number of pensioner households not claiming in Scotland is 67,270, while the number of individuals is 86,490.
Responding to Jo Swinson’s question, the Minister refuted the figure used. The Government only produces figures for pension credit eligibility at UK level, and is therefore not able to offer an alternative estimate over the number of pensioners in Scotland eligible for pension credit.