In the U.K. our state pension is protected by what is referred to as the triple lock. The triple lock guarantees that every year the state pension rises by the highest of inflation, wage growth or 2.5%. Well, that’s the theory. Despite pensioner poverty increasing under the current Conservative and Unionist UK government, Boris Johnson’s treasury team are planning to break the triple lock and their manifesto promise to pensioners and cut the planned increase in pensions to below the rate of inflation.
Analysis from the House of Commons library, using Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data, has revealed UK pensions are the least generous of every country in north west Europe. UK pensioners receive around a quarter (28%) of the average working wage when they retire – lower than all thirteen neighbouring countries, including Ireland (36%), Switzerland (44%), Norway (52%), Germany (52%), Sweden (53%), Finland (64%), Belgium (66%), Iceland (70%), Denmark (71%), France (74%), Netherlands (80%), Austria (90%) and Luxembourg (90%). And as a result, combined with a decade of Tory austerity cuts, pensioner poverty has risen further under the present Conservative and Unionist Government. We only need to look at the shabby treatment of the WASPI women to see just how little consideration is given to pensioners in the UK.
The UK government’s own Households Below Average Income (HBAI) statistics show that UK pensioner poverty levels are on the rise, with 2.1million pensioners (18%) living in poverty after housing costs – an increase of 200,000 on 2018/19, and a 15 year high.
If we can’t look after those who have worked and contributed to our society for the majority of their lives, then what future are we all looking forward to? The only way to keep pensioners safe from Tory cuts is for Scotland to become an independent country with the full powers needed to protect and improve the incomes of our pensioners.