PENSIONERS IN MIDLOTHIAN COULD LOSE OUT ON £7,000 PER YEAR
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has slammed the Tory government for ‘sneaking out’ changes to state pensions, which could affect older couples in Midlothian to the tune of £7,000 per year.
Changes to benefits for mixed-age couples – which will be introduced from 15 May 2019 - were quietly released by Tory ministers on the eve of Theresa May’s humiliating Brexit deal defeat
Currently, couples can claim Pension Credit - an income related benefit meant to top up the state pension as long as one partner is of pension age. Universal Credit will reverse this – meaning a mixed-age couple will be defined by the working-age person, not the pensioner.
Experts have claimed that the changes could leave some pensioners almost £7,000 worse off per year, and Age UK warned that it could leave “some of the poorest pensioners paying a hefty price for having a younger partner.”
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“It’s concerning that the Westminster government tried to quietly bury the news that pensioners with younger partners are set to lose out on hundreds of pounds each month. People on low incomes and receiving pension credit should not be forced to pay the price for the Tories’ welfare cuts and chaotic Universal Credit.
“Amid the chaos and distraction of Brexit, those who may be affected by this change in Midlothian deserve to know about it, and have been let down by UK government attempts to ‘sneak out’ the news at 7.20pm on the night of the Brexit vote – when attentions were directed elsewhere.
“Serious concerns over the Tory government’s welfare policies have already been raised by my SNP colleagues at Westminster and, at Holyrood, the SNP will continue to tackle poverty and create a social security system based on equality, fairness and dignity. I will be writing to the DWP to ask for a reverse to this appalling cut which will hit those on the lowest incomes.”
SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, has called on Midlothian Council to make the most of the Scottish Government’s plans to introduce a £50 million Town Centre Fund.
Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay MSP, announced the new ring-fenced fund - that will be available through the local authority settlement - during his draft budget statement last month.
The proposal aims to drive local economic growth by helping town centres fund projects such as re-purposing buildings for retail, business and community enterprise, while improving access and infrastructure.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“The Finance Secretary’s plans to introduce a new £50 million Town Centre Fund could help transform towns like Dalkeith, and others across Midlothian.
“The fund will be passed on through the local authority settlement, so it’s up to Midlothian Council to make sure our local town centres see the benefit of this substantial investment through community improvement projects.
“All high streets across Scotland face challenges as online retail changes the way we shop. But this fund has the potential to stimulate real development in our town centres, to help communities thrive.
“I hope my parliamentary colleagues from across the political divide will get behind these Budget proposals to ensure our town centres across Midlothian can benefit.”
Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland Policy Chair, said:
“Over the last few years, independent businesses have been leading a fightback on our high streets. But local traders can’t prop up our town centres on their own. That’s why we’re pleased to see Derek Mackay back the FSB’s idea for a new Scottish town centre diversification fund. Similarly, a below inflation increase to business rates will give many smaller firms outside existing help much needed breathing space.”
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has challenged political opponents to back the Scottish Government’s draft budget that plans to increase spending on colleges by £18.3 million over the coming year.
The proposal, set out in the Scottish Government’s draft budget plans for 2019/20, will take investment in Scotland’s colleges to over £606 million.
The MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh has called on his parliamentary colleagues across the Lothian’s to back the Finance Secretary’s plans to secure “substantial” funding for the area.
MSPs will vote on the plans next month.
Commenting, SNP MSP Colin Beattie, said:
“With spending on Scotland’s colleges set to rise by over £600 million, the Finance Secretary’s budget proposals for the year will come as great news for Edinburgh College and other institutions across the country.
“I am calling on local politicians from across the chamber to get behind the plans to secure substantial funding for colleges and universities throughout the Lothian’s.
Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland, said:
“There are elements of the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget that the college sector can welcome given that the revenue resource budget for colleges has increased by £18.3 million to £606.5 million – a real terms increase of 1.3%. It is good news, for example, that the financing of National Bargaining is continuing as this significant investment in lecturing and support staff is essential for colleges and there is also the continuation of the £10 million investment for the Flexible Workforce Development Fund.”
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