CAMPAIGNING pensioners have voiced their concern to Humza Yousaf over the absence of a specific ministerial position to consider the rights and welfare of older people.

The Scottish Pensioners’ Forum (SPF), the campaigning organisation for older people in Scotland, have written to the First Minister to congratulate him on his appointment.

But they have also called into question the decision to drop the Minister for Equalities and Older People role, with its responsibilities now falling under the remit of the new Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees, SNP MSP Emma Roddick. 

SPF chair, Rose Jackson said: "Over the past several years, the Scottish Pensioners’ Forum has worked closely with the Minister for Equalities and Older People through the Older People’s Strategic Action Forum (OPSAF) and, along with many other older people’s organisations, has made some significant headway in doing so.

"Representatives on OPSAF worked closely together when the pandemic hit and were confident that the stellar work carried out beforehand with the minister would be reinstated as a priority moving forward – but it appears to have just been largely ignored.

"What we are seeing now is that the ministerial responsibility for older people’s welfare is just another casualty of the pandemic they have to endure - as if they haven’t suffered enough.

"We have called on the First Minister to meet with us, and other older people’s organisations, to discuss our concerns and we hope that he treats this as a priority.

"Issues affecting older people are very specific and as we make up 20% of the population, being tagged onto an already stretched portfolio simply isn’t good enough.

"In 2019, the Fairer Scotland for Older People: A Framework for Action report formed part of the Programme for Government, which widely acknowledged the gross inequalities facing Scotland’s older citizens.

"If Scotland is serious about being a progressive nation, it can’t be seen to be regressing on its commitment to older people – what’s fair in that."