Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, Neale Hanvey, has called on the UK government to take urgent action to increase the uptake of Pension Credit so that older people in the local area can receive this life-changing entitlement, and the benefits to which it is a gateway – such as the Warm Home Discount scheme.
This comes as research from the charity Independent Age found that 1,042 older people missed out on more than £146,000 in Warm Home Discount across the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Constituency last winter.
Mr Hanvey has regularly spoken out about the poor uptake in Pension Credit, with a staggering £5.7 million going unclaimed across the local area last year, and in January he was part of cross-party efforts to push the UK government to come up with a clear plan on how to boost uptake.
Commenting, Neale Hanvey MP said:
“These new statistics from Independent Age show that during this bitterly cold winter it is more important than ever that the UK government works to get Pension Credit to the people that are missing out.
“The lack of uptake is a long-running scandal, but it’s an even bigger issue this year while we’re stuck at home due to the pandemic. There are folk in the local area who are really struggling, facing the unimaginable choice between heating or eating, and they could be getting this helping hand.
“We need to know why folk aren’t applying for Pension Credit and we need a clear plan on how to remedy that. That’s the simple request I have of the UK government. Surely, after all this time, it can’t be acceptable that uptake of Pension Credit is only 64 percent across these islands?
“While the UK government drags its feet on taking real action, I would encourage everyone in our community to check what benefits they are entitled to with the dedicated calculator on the Scottish Government website, or through Age UK, Age Scotland and Citizens Advice.”
Morgan Vine, Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said:
“It is brilliant to have the support of Neale Hanvey MP for our campaign. We need the UK government to urgently create an action plan that addresses the low take up Pension Credit. This must include awareness campaigns, a full communications strategy, and new, high quality, up-to-date research into who is not claiming Pension Credit and why.
“By working together to identify and overcome any barriers, we are confident we can increase uptake and ultimately, improve the lives of the up to 1 million people in later life who are facing unnecessary financial struggles.”
Click here to read the story covered in the Fife Free Press