Robertson vs May at PMQs: “You can’t trust the Tories on pensions”

Nathanael Williams

The SNP leader at Westminster takes the UK Govt to task over pensions safety

VOTERS ACROSS THE UK will soon realise that they “can’t trust the Tories on pensions” according to Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminister leader in Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) today (Wednesday 26 April).

In a heated interaction with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Robertson asked why pensioners should trust the word of the UK Tory Government when it failed to guarantee a triple lock on pensions, a cornerstone of pensions security in the UK.

The PM refused to answer the question twice before using the opportunity to make a political jab at the SNP, suggesting that only way to save the UK was for Scottish voters to back the Conservatives.

The triple lock was introduced in 2006. It sets the level of growth for pension payments based on the highest of three measures : the growth in national average earnings, inflation as measured by the consumer price index, or 2.5 per cent. 

“Pensioners can’t trust the Prime Minister and they can’t trust the Tories on Pensions.” Angus Robertson MP

Angus Robertson, the MP for Moray, said: “The public and senior citizens are right to fear a pensions bombshell by the Tories. The only reason to not guarantee the pensions triple lock is to spend less on pensions.

“Too many women already face pensions inequality and the Conservatives now won’t guarantee the pensions triple lock.

“Pensioners can’t trust the Prime Minister and they can’t trust the Tories on Pensions. Only the SNP can secure dignity in retirement for pensioners in Scotland and take the Tories to task to prevent a raid on pensioner income.”

The UK Government has come under consistent pressure to guarantee pensions safety in the light of the expansion of the national debt under their tenure and the programme of austerity since 2010. Campaigners suggest that if the Tories dropped their commitment to the triple lock pensions arrangement it could lead to a loss in funds for pensioners.

“Voters in Scotland know that they pensions are safe with a UK Government and that the only way to defend the union is to vote Conservative.” Theresa May

A person could lose £642 on the Basic State Pension, or £817 on the New State Pension over the next five financial years if the triple lock is removed.

Advocates of getting rid of the triple lock deal say it is starting to cost too much money as a larger part of the population reach above the 65 plus age threshold.

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed in his Autumn Statement last year that the triple lock would stay throughout this parliament, which takes us to 2020. But there is growing pressure within the Conservative party for it to be replaced after 2020.

For the past five years campaigners from Women Against State pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign have demanded that their cases be heard and addressed by the Tory Government in response to inequality in pension provision faced by women over 50. The decision to equalise the state pension age by 2020 without compensation or properly timed warning has affected 2 and a half million women in the UK and a quarter of a million women in Scotland.

Responding to Robertson’s criticisms, May said: “Only with a Conservative Government will pensions be safe. This government has a proud and formidable record in securing pensions and raising pensions for pensioners. We will continue to do so.

“Voters in Scotland know that their pensions are safe with a UK Government and that the only way to defend the union is to vote Conservative.”

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