Pensioner Poverty Up 33% Since 2010
New research has revealed that pensioner poverty levels have increased by 33% since 2010, after housing costs are taken into account.
Analysis by Scottish Labour has shown that nearly one in six Scottish pensioners now lives in poverty, up from one in nine in 2010 - a total of 160,000 across Scotland.
The Joseph Rowntree foundation has shown that the majority of the fall in pensioner poverty occurred between 1998 and 2005, but a combination of austerity and rising housing costs is now beginning to undo the progress under New Labour. After years of convergence, single female pensioners are now pulling away from couples and are far more likely to be at risk of poverty across the UK.
Scottish Labour maintained that rising pensioner poverty was mostly down to the Conservatives’ inept and cruel austerity policies, but that the SNP were also to blame for passing it on. They emphasised that council cuts must be urgently reversed in order to properly fund social care, and that the Scottish government must work harder to make pensioners aware of the discounts and exemptions they are entitled to.
Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Eradication of Poverty and Inequality Elaine Smith said:
“These figures prove that the SNP’s approach to tacking poverty in Scotland is failing. SNP ministers must take these shocking figures seriously, and explain why this has been allowed to happen under their watch.
“Poverty has a negative impact on a person’s mental and physical health, their self-esteem, and their ability to enjoy their lives by socialising with their friends and family.
“Pensioners in Scotland deserve better than this. They deserve to live out their retirement in dignity, to lead full and flourishing lives. Instead, an ever increasing number of pensioners will have to worry about how they are going to eat, and face the stress of being unable to afford their bills.
“Now is the time for radical action to stop pensioner poverty rates rising, and to reverse the impact on pensioners of years of SNP cuts and Tory austerity. Its only Labour that will take the radical action needed and make Scotland work for the many, not the few.”