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One in six Scottish pensioners in poverty

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21 March 2024

  • Scotland is crying out for a plan to tackle pensioner poverty, says Age Scotland

New figures published by the Scottish Government today (21 March) show that one in six Scottish pensioners are living in poverty.

The national charity for older people, Age Scotland, has described this as “scandalously high” and are concerned that no progress has been made on driving this figure down.

They are calling on the UK and Scottish governments to work together and develop a strategy to reduce poverty in later life which would include joined up work to boost the uptake of Pension Credit and longer-term financial support payments to help those with the least to weather the financial insecurity they face. The aim would be to lift more people out of poverty and reduce the chances of falling into it in the first place.

New Scottish data highlights that 15% of pensioners are living in relative poverty and that nearly a quarter (23%) of single women pensioners are in this position.

The charity also warns that a growing crisis of low income in later life is looming as 23% of people between 55 and 64 are in poverty, which will also have a big impact on health and care.

Age Scotland’s policy director, Adam Stachura said:

“Poverty rates among older people are scandalously high, particularly so for single pensioner women, and with so many people in their mid to late fifties, and early sixties in this is position the future looks bleak. The lack of progress to drive down the figures has been damaging to hundreds of thousands of people and demonstrates why Scotland has long been crying out for a national plan to tackle poverty in later life.

“Scotland can and must do more.

“It’s high time the UK and Scottish government got together to develop a strategy which dramatically increases uptake of social security such as pension credit and develop longer-term financial support payments for older people on the lowest incomes. If we continue to do little to nothing, then we risk an even greater crisis in the future.”

Age Scotland’s national helpline identified £1.5m of unclaimed financial support for older people in 2023. Their advisors can offer benefit and entitlement checks on 0800 12 44 222 or via

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