Monday, 6 April 2015

Sturgeon Launches Pensioners Plan to Protect Interests of Scotland's Older People


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will today launch the SNP’s Pensioners Plan - setting out how a strong team of SNP MPs will protect the interests of Scotland’s older people.

Sturgeon on the YES trail in 2014
Meeting older voters at a care home in East Dunbartonshire, the First Minister will announce a range of policies the SNP will push for to deliver a better deal for pensioners, including:
  • The retention of the Triple Lock to ensure that the state pension increases every year either by inflation, in line with wages or by 2.5 per cent – whichever is higher.
  • A Single Tier Pension rate of at least £160 to lift pensioners out of means tested benefits.
  • A guarantee that there should be no further increase in the state pension age in Scotland while life expectancy still lags behind the rest of the UK and Europe.
  • A pledge that the SNP will oppose any attempts to end the Winter Fuel Allowance which so many pensioners rely on.
The SNP has already taken strong action in government to protect the interests of pensioners in Scotland – including investing in free personal care and the concessionary travel scheme.

Commenting, Ms Sturgeon said:

“I am immensely proud of the SNP’s record in government when it comes to standing up for our older people

“We've protected and extended the concessionary travel scheme which gives people the freedom they need to enjoy their lives.

“And free personal care which ensures our older people receive the standard of care they deserve regardless of their ability to pay has been one of the biggest landmarks of the devolution era.

“But there is undoubtedly more that could be done at Westminster to build on our progress in Scotland and protect the interests of older people.

“SNP MPs will push Westminster to retain the Triple Lock on pensions – meaning our older people benefit from real increases on their pensions at a time when so many people are struggling with the cost of living. And the SNP will continue to make the case for a single tier pension rate of at least £160 a week to ensure pensioners are no longer subjected to the scourge of means tested benefits.

“The Tory/Lib Dem government’s plan to further increase the state pension age is a worry to people across the UK who are planning for their future – but the failure to take Scotland’s specific circumstances into account is particularly unfair.

“Our comparatively low life expectancy rate is an issue which I will do everything in my power to change – but in the meantime it would be completely unacceptable for people in Scotland who have paid in to a state pension all of their lives to lose out. That is why SNP MPs will reject any plans for a further increase in the state pension age.

“Our pensioners have contributed hugely to society, and are entitled to get a fair deal in their retirement in return.

“A strong team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power will ensure that the contribution older people have made throughout their lives is recognised – and will deliver a new and better deal for pensioners in Scotland.”
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