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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-15607: Elaine Smith (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 23 March 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking in light of reports that poverty rates for retired older women are higher than those for males.

Answered by: Angela Constance 23 April 2018

The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring a thriving third age for all older people. That is why the Fairer Scotland Action Plan committed to bringing forward a financial health check service with an older people strand: in order to maximise incomes in retirement and boost uptake of Pension Credit and Council Tax Reduction Scheme. We also offer a range of schemes under the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS) to support people, including pensioners, who have difficulty in keeping their homes warm.

These measures will help all older people, including women, to increase their incomes and reduce costs.

In the longer term we are taking action to cut the gender pay gap, helping working age women to save for their retirement. Within Every Child, Every Chance: the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan we confirmed our strong intent to do more to tackle this issue and announced a new £750,000 Workplace Equality Fund; to help overcome long standing a systemic issues with recruitment practices and progression in the workplace.

Alongside this, we continue to lobby the UK government about the pensions position of women whose state pension age has been rapidly increased since 2010. This is likely to be contributing to the financial stress of many women pensioners.