LOCAL MSP Kenneth Gibson is urging all pensioners living on a low income with a partner of working age to urgently check their eligibility for Pension Credit before the UK Government changes the rules on May 15.

Mr Gibson will lead a debate on this at Holyrood on Thursday, backed by the charity Age Scotland.

This change will see the right to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit withdrawn from future claimants with a partner who hasn’t yet reached pensionable age.

This move will have severe financial consequences for some of North Ayrshire’s poorest older residents. Age Scotland warns that the new policy will place some pensioners in the absurd position of being financially better off if they split up from their younger partner.

Mr Gibson said: “Beyond Pension Credit, mixed age couples could also miss out on a range of ‘passported benefits’ such as housing benefit, council tax reduction, cold weather payments, dental and eyecare costs, perhaps even the warm home discount.

“All in, this could mean the loss of financial support for those on the lowest incomes could be £7,320 a year.”