BY Ian Dunn | September 29 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Committee Convener Stewart Maxwell MSP chairs a meeting of the Education and Culture Committee earlier today.  28 May 2013.  Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

MSP wants religious to qualify for Pension Credit

MSP Stewart Maxwell has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on the Westminster Government to extend the provision of Pension Credit to members of enclosed religious orders.

Pension Credit is a benefit paid to those of pensionable age to make their income up to a guaranteed minimum amount. Prisoners and members of enclosed religious orders do not qualify.

“It seems to me to be ridiculous that members of enclosed religious orders, who are fully maintained by their order, are one of only two groups of people in the UK who are denied Pension Credit,” Mr Maxwell (above), an SNP MSP, said.

“The other group of people who are denied Pension Credit are prisoners. The numbers of men and women in fully enclosed religious orders in Scotland, and indeed in the UK, is really very small, and only those over the age of 65 are eligible for Pension Credit so extending Pension Credit to this group would be a small cost to the Treasury. However, the impact on monasteries and convents can be significant.”

Mr Maxwell said he had been pursuing this issue for some time.

“The Scottish Government, after an oral question in the Chamber from me, wrote to the UK Government asking them to change the rules, a request that was refused,” he said. “I have now laid a motion in the Scottish Parliament to try and highlight this issue which is important but relatively unknown and which was brought to my attention by one of my constituents in West Scotland.”




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