Mason ‘shocked’ over UK pensioner poverty

28 Jul 2009

The UK government has been lambasted following the publication of European statistics showing that the number of pensioners living in poverty in the UK is among the highest in Europe with the over-65s in poorer countries, including Romania and Poland, faring better.

The SNP MP for Glasgow East, John Mason, has said the figures, which show pensioner poverty in Britain is more than a third higher than the European average, in his view are an appalling legacy after twelve years of a Labour government.

John says:

“These figures are an appalling legacy after twelve years of Labour government and show that Labour has singularly failed to close the gap between rich and poor created during the Thatcher years.

“Gordon Brown should hang his head in shame as banking bosses get multi-million pound rewards while pensioners live below the bread-line.

“No issue underlines more why Scotland must have full responsibility for all tax, spending and social welfare issues so that we can tackle the scourge of poverty.

“The Scottish Government is doing everything it can with the powers that are available to it. Practical steps, like freezing the Council Tax, ending food preparation charges, and extending action to end fuel poverty, are delivering – and we will do more.

“There is enormous political goodwill towards fighting poverty, and yet the UK government has failed to match its talk with action. Scotland has the will to eradicate poverty but we are being held back by a tax and benefits system that is failing thousands of people.”