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Ms Roseanna Cunningham MSP has highlighted research by the organisation Independent Age on both the impact on pensioners and the cost to the taxpayer of low Pension Credit uptake.

Ms Cunningham said:

“In an astonishing piece of research commissioned for the charity ‘Independent Age’, the Centre for Research in Social Policy has estimated that there is a £4 billion cost to the taxpayer in increased NHS and social care spending, resulting from 40% of eligible pensioners not receiving pension credit.

“So not only are the pensioners themselves losing out, the rest of us are too.

“In my Perthshire South & Kinross-shire constituency alone, this includes an estimated £3,900,000 in costs to the NHS and care systems.

“At a time when pensioners, the NHS and the social care system are all being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that action is taken to ensure Pension Credit is received by those who need it.

“Pension Credit has one of the lowest take-up rates of any income-related benefit, at around 60%, with over 1 million people missing out – including 1,131 pensioner households missing out on a total of £2,300,000 in Perthshire South & Kinross-shire. 

“Pension Credit is important for low-income pensioners, not simply because of what it means in terms of the top-up of income it provides but because it can act as a gateway to qualifying for many other benefits.

“In early 2020, the UK Government admitted to the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee that if all pensioners received the benefits they were entitled to, including Pension Credit, pensioner poverty would be all but eliminated. 

“This research echoes that, estimating that if everyone who is eligible for Pension Credit received it, pensioner poverty would be reduced by almost 5% down to 11.8%.

“So it is without hesitation that I give my backing to Independent Age’s 'Credit Where It’s Due' campaign, calling on the UK Government to put in place an ambitious action plan, detailing how they will work to increase the uptake of Pension Credit over the next five years. 

“In the meantime, I would urge any pensioner struggling to get by to check whether they might be entitled to Pension Credit. It might make a big difference.”


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NOTES: More information on Independent Age and the research referred to can be found online here.

Further information on applying for Pension Credit can be found online here or by calling the Pension Credit claim line 0800 99 1234.

Textphone: 0800 169 0133
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 99 1234
Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users - check you can use this service
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Applications can be submitted online, by post or by using the Pension Credit claim line.


Roseanna Cunningham MSP, 63 Glasgow Road, Perth PH2 0PE  •  01738 620540   •   Website designed & hosted by Craig Mackay Design