"The link between the intrusive and complex nature of means testing and non take-up of the minimum income guarantee by some pensioners has been established."—[Official Report, House of Commons, 25 June 2001; Vol 370, c 34W.]
Because new Labour has clung to that obscene method of squeezing money from the elderly—
The whole of that question deals with matters that are for the Westminster Parliament. We need to have a balance. We cannot deliver all benefits and services on the universal principle or through means testing; neither of those is a credible or realistic option. The health service, for which I am responsible, is the best example of a universal service and the Scottish Parliament can take pride in the fact that it extended that principle in its first session to deal with personal care for the elderly. That was a major extension of universal benefits, but it does not follow that because we decided that that was appropriate, every service and benefit should be universal. It is simply not realistic to run a government in that way.