Pensioners

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 15th November 2005.

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Photo of Anne Begg Anne Begg Labour, Aberdeen South 2:30 pm, 15th November 2005

What estimate he has made of the number of Scottish pensioner households which will receive the £200 payment to help with council tax payments.

Photo of David Cairns David Cairns Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Scotland Office

In Scotland, around 400,000 pensioner households with someone aged 65 or over and not in receipt of the guaranteed element of pension credit will receive the £200 age-related payment.

Photo of Anne Begg Anne Begg Labour, Aberdeen South

I am glad to hear that. I do not know whether my hon. Friend is aware that the Liberal council in Aberdeen has increased council taxes for my constituents more than almost anywhere else in Scotland, so they will welcome that £200. What advice can he give my constituents when faced with high council tax hikes from the Liberal council?

Photo of David Cairns David Cairns Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Scotland Office

My hon. Friend and I share the terrible burden of living in constituencies controlled by the Liberal Democrats at council level. At least hers does not have the distinction, which Inverclyde council has, of being the worst-performing council in all of Scotland since the Liberal Democrats took control. However, she is right that the £200 payment is part of a package of measures introduced by the Government to improve the lot of pensioners. Since we came to office, millions of pensioners have been taken out of poverty, which stands in stark contrast to the 18 years when the value of the basic state pension rose once and millions of pensioners were plunged into poverty under the Conservatives.