Pension Affordability

Wellbeing pension petition

Female pensioner poverty is rising the fastest

Wealthy nations shouldn’t have poor pensioners

The UK’s basic weekly state pension of £169.50, paid to approximately 82% of Scottish Pensioners, is one of the worst in the developed world.

Poorer pensioners can claim means-tested benefits to get £218.15 per week but that is still not enough to live on. We need a Wellbeing Pension of £241.50 per week, the amount required to cover the basic cost of living and escape poverty. The UK Basic State Pension plus benefits is £23.35 per week (£1,214.20 per year) lower than pensioners need, just to live with basic dignity and that is unacceptable.

The UK government also cost each pensioner up to £487.00 a year by breaking its “triple- lock guarantee” that pensions would match inflation. This was whilst the cost of living was skyrocketing.

The Affordability of the Wellbeing Pension

If you are asking the question – can the UK Government really afford to pay the Wellbeing Pension? Then you are already accepting the idea that creating a society where pensioners can afford to live with dignity is optional and not a necessity. 

Let’s be clear – paying a lower pension than almost every other country in the  developed world is a policy decision made by UK governments of left and right. Pensioner poverty is a choice made by successive Chancellors, whose shared goal has been to boost the City of London, by forcing the wealthy to purchase private pensions. 

Planning to spend at least £205 billion renewing Trident whilst paying an inferior pension, or having broken the triple-lock on pensions costing pensioners £487.00 a year during the worst cost of living crises in generations was a Westminster policy decision.  

We are living in an upside-down world if nuclear weapons and dozens of other populist spending decisions the UK Government makes come first and the needs of pensioners come last. We believe that to build a thriving society, you must first take care of core payments such as funding decent pensions, a functioning NHS, appropriate policing and education etc. Then, if the Government thinks it has nothing left and doesn’t want to borrow more then what it cannot afford to pay for is those expensive and totally unnecessary projects. 

How much would the Wellbeing Pension cost the Scottish Government?

Unfortunately the Scottish Government does not publish a forecast for its NIC figures and they are not available until they are published alongside the Government Revenues and Expenditure Scotland report later in the year. However, we can estimate their value by taking the known NIC outturn value from GERS 2022/23 and applying the same forecasting methodology as the OBR for rUK NICs. Using this methodology, we estimate that Scotland’s NICs for 2024/25 will be £12.77bn.

If the Scottish Government were to adopt the Wellbeing Pension, it would increase their State Pension cost to £12.78bn (note that currently the UK Government pays the State Pension to all Scottish pensioners, not the Scottish Government). While the cost of the Wellbeing Pension is above our forecasted NICs for Scotland, it should be noted that the administrative savings made through our proposal to scrap Pension Credit and the additional tax claimed from earnings above the tax threshold will also reduce overall costs.

Another way to reduce the overall cost is to reflect the savings gained by retired people living together as a couple as currently recognised by the Pensions Credit System. This would mean that single retirees would receive the single person’s Wellbeing Pension and a couple would receive an amount calculated to match the weekly Wellbeing Pension for one person of £241.50 and the Minimum Income Standard for the other of £236.10 per week. This would mean that they would receive £238.80 each per week, £477.60 combined. This means that:

• A couple currently both on the New State Pension will be £35.20 per week better off

• A couple currently both on the Basic State Pension will be £138.60 per week better off

• A single pensioner on the New State Pension will be £20.30 per week better off

• A single pensioner on the Basic State Pension will be £23.35 per week better off

The Wellbeing Pension will boost the economy

Raising the State Pension to the level of the Wellbeing Pension will do more than just improve the lives of low-income pensioners. Lifting people out of poverty is the best way to actually stimulate the economy. 

When you raise the income of those in poverty, their spending increases, and most importantly they buy local goods and services. Pensioners raised out of poverty will buy clothes and food, heat their homes and frequent local establishments – so the extra money goes straight into the local economy and generates tax revenues. That in turn generates VAT on goods bought and more tax on the profits made by shops. As much as 20% of the additional cost of the Wellbeing Pension comes straight back to the Government in taxation from the economic boost it will give the economy.

As money circulates in the economy it generates profits and taxes and so, a better question is: Can we afford not to pay The Wellbeing Pension?


HELP US send a message to the UK’s Pensions Minister by signing our petition stating loud and clear that pensioner poverty is unacceptable and that a Wellbeing Pension of £241.50 per week is required.

wellbeing pension logo

Sycamore House,
290 Bath Street,
3rd floor, Suite 1A,
Glasgow, G2 4JR