Visit to Age Scotland

Today I visited the Age Scotland offices in Edinburgh in my role as SNP Social Justice Spokesperson, to learn more about the work they do, the issues they are dealing with, and how deeply the cost-of-living crisis is affecting Scotland's older population.

We want Scotland to be the best place to grow old, but our ambitions are severely restricted by Westminster. Pension policy is completely reserved to the British Government, which has presided over decades of bad decision-making. To its shame, the UK has one the lowest state pensions in Western Europe.

One thing was clear from my visit - much more needs to be done to support pensioners.

It is estimated that around 120,000 pensioners in Scotland are eligible for Pension Credit - a top-up which aims to increase pension income to the minimum needed to live on - but do not claim it. That means there's roughly £400 million unclaimed - money that could really help ease the burden on households at the minute.

Details on how to claim Pension Credit can be found on the UK Government's website. Age Scotland also run a helpline, which is on hand to help and give advice on a wide range of issues. If you or someone you know needs support, call free on 0800 12 44 222.

Age Scotland is also carrying out their Big Survey at the moment. This is the largest survey of its kind of older people across Scotland. It's a chance for older people to have their say on the issues that matter to them and to inform Age Scotland's work.

You can get a paper copy of the Big Survey by calling Age Scotland or you can fill it in online.

I'm very grateful to Age Scotland for taking time out of their busy schedule to meet with me and to share their experiences and expertise. I look forward to working with them in the future to help improve the lives of older people in Scotland.