NEWS

Nicola Sturgeon: Conservatives 'Cannot Be Trusted To Care For Our Older People'

SNP manifesto will commit to 'demanding the retention of the triple lock on the state pension'.

20/05/2017 13:36 | Updated 20 May 2017

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to defend pensioners in Scotland as she branded Tory policies for the elderly a “disgrace”.

Sturgeon has revealed key pledges aimed at older people ahead of the launch of the SNP’s General Election manifesto on Tuesday.

The promises follow confirmation that the Conservatives plan to end the triple lock on pensions after 2020 and limit winter fuel payments to the poorest elderly people in England and Wales.

Theresa May has also announced changes to payments for social care south of the border, which will see many people paying for more of their home care.

PA Wire/PA Images
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to defend pensioners in Scotland and branded Tory policies for the elderly as a 'disgrace'

Sturgeon said the policies showed that her Tory rivals “cannot be trusted to care for our older people”.

The SNP manifesto will commit to “demanding the retention of the triple lock on the state pension”, which guarantees an increase in the state pension every year by inflation, average earnings or a minimum of 2.5%.

May wants a double lock, with increases in line with inflation or earnings, while Labour and the Lib Dems also back the triple lock.

The SNP will oppose moves to increase the state pension age beyond 66 and support so-called “WASPI women” born in the 1950s, who will lose out from the planned equalisation of the state pension age.

The party is also committed to maintaining universal winter fuel payments and extending the eligibility to families with “severely disabled children”.

While the fuel payment is to be means-tested in England and Wales, the Scottish Tories have promised to preserve the benefit, worth up to £300, for all pensioners north of the border.

The payment is one of a number of benefits to be devolved to Scotland by April 2020.

Social care is already devolved.

PA Wire/PA Images
Theresa May wants a double lock on the state pension with increases in line with inflation or earnings, while Sturgeon wants to retain the triple lock

Sturgeon said: “The Tories cannot be trusted to care for our older people. Removing the triple lock, slashing the winter fuel allowance and pushing more care costs onto our elderly when they have paid taxes all their lives is a disgrace.

“Cutting the winter fuel allowance won’t just hit wealthy pensioners, it will hit all but the very poorest of our elderly people at a time when energy prices are rising, and removing the triple lock when Brexit is pushing up inflation leaves our older people at risk.

“The SNP is committed to the triple lock to ensure pensions increase in line with the rising cost of living.

“We will fight to protect the winter fuel allowance at Westminster and protect it when it transfers to Scotland, and we will always argue for fair pensions for all.”

SNP pensions spokesman Ian Blackford said it was not clear whether the Tories were backing the universal winter fuel payment for Scottish pensioners with cash from UK government coffers.

“When you look at what they are doing with the winter fuel allowance, they are all over the place, saying different things to different people in different parts of the UK,” he said.

“The question is where will the funding come from? Last year, that cost £158 million in Scotland. We need to make sure, if the Conservatives are saying that winter fuel payments are going to be protected, that the funding for that comes from the Westminster Government in order that we can do that.

“This will become a devolved competency over the course of the lifetime of this parliament so we need to make sure that people in Scotland are not going to be short-changed by the Conservatives.”

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS