Following today’s 2024/25 Scottish Budget announcement, Joanna Elson CBE, Chief Executive at Independent Age: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s greater focus on older people in poverty in today’s Budget. The news that all devolved social security payments, including the Winter Heating Payment, have been uprated by inflation and that the fund for Discretionary Housing Payment has been increased will be a welcome relief to those struggling financially in later life.
“However, these measures do not go far enough for the 150,000 older people now living in poverty in Scotland, a figure that has risen by a quarter in the last decade alone, now affecting 1 in 7. Today they really needed the Scottish Government to announce a clear, long-term strategy with legally binding targets and ambitions action to tackle pensioner poverty and reverse this frightening trend.
“Older people in Scotland, including those in financial hardship, urgently need greater representation. We were disappointed that the Scottish Government didn’t use today’s announcement as an opportunity to announce funding for an Older People’s Commissioner. A Commissioner would give better representation across policy making and provide a crucial independent voice for people in later life. With 1 in 4 of us projected to be over 65 by 2040, there’s no time to waste.
“While we welcome the measures announced today that will improve life for older people on low incomes, the Scottish Government need to go further and faster to address rising pensioner poverty in Scotland. Both a long-term solution to financial hardship in later life and an end to older people feeling ignored by those in power is needed. The time is now for Scotland to have a pensioner poverty strategy and an Older People’s Commissioner.”