By Martin Kelly

Unionist parties have been accused of trying to fool people in Scotland over the issue of pensions after a Westminster committee launched yet another attack on independence.

SNP Welfare spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford today said a Yes vote could end the “pensions con” that UK Government and Labour politicians are trying to play on people in Scotland.

As Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee today (Monday) attempts to whip up fears over pensions, the SNP has called on the Westminster parties to stop treating people like fools and publish their plans for the future of the state pension.

The Scottish Affairs Committee, which is comprised solely of pro-Union MPs, has published a report accusing the Scottish Government of making plans for pensions that are “almost entirely uncosted”.

The committee’s Labour Chair, MP Ian Davidson said: “They cannot say what their pensions bill would be. They have no credible plans to cope with the rising costs of Scotland’s ageing population. They don’t know what their own promises would cost.

“Pensioners – current and future – deserve certainty. Instead the Scottish government offer no detail, no costings, no believable plan and what they are offering amounts to the biggest mis-selling scandal in history.”

However the committee was accused of playing games over the issue by Dr Eilidh Whiteford who said:

“Pensioners have worked all their lives and made their contribution and we should ensure they receive decent pensions.

“Scotland has paid more in taxes in each and every one of the last 30 years than the rest of the UK, much of it through the efforts of those who are now pensioners and with independence we will ensure pensioners get the support they are rightly entitled to.”

In May this year, UK Pensions Minister Steve Webb confirmed that pensions would continue to be paid in full regardless of a Yes vote.

Asked by Labour MP Ian Davidson if, following independence, “people themselves could be assured that their pensions are secure” Mr Webb replied “Yes”.

He said: “You don’t have to be a UK citizen to get a UK pension.  So we will obviously, for the people who have put national insurance into our system, we would pay them a pension wherever they lived so separation wouldn’t affect that… You could retire to France and we’d just pay you a pension, so where you end up isn’t material, because you’ve paid into the system.”

Dr Whiteford added: “The UK and Scottish Governments have guaranteed that pensions will continue to be paid whatever the result of the referendum and the Scottish Government has confirmed pensions will be set at a minimum of £160 a week in 2016-17.  The UK Government and the Labour party have failed to tell pensioners what they intend to pay or confirm they will ensure pensions keep pace with the cost of living.

“Instead of trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes Labour and the UK Government should set out their position on the future of the state pension.

“Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations on earth, wealthier per head than the UK, Japan and France yet for too many people, including too many of our pensioners, it doesn’t feel that way.

“Scotland’s vast wealth and resources means we are more able to afford pensions as part of our economy and as a share of our revenues, and with independence we will be able to grow our economy, boost the number of working age people and increase revenues guaranteeing our older people the dignity they deserve in retirement.”


2014-07-07 07:46

This is becoming so tedious and borders on the farcical. Here we have the Scottish Affairs Committee trying to open up opportunity for the UK Gov to attack Scotland’s people again.

This pensions question was asked and answered for this very same Scottish Affairs Committee, confirming there is no danger to pensions for eligible Scottish pensioners, should we become independent.

Only a seriously troubled mind-set would re-visit the question again in the hope that we Scots can yet be done down in some pernicious way. Bloody shameful.
2014-07-07 08:33

The unionist parties constantly try to pass off their failures as a reason to vote No.
The pensions are a prime example. Brown’s abolition on the tax relief, the pension holidays for the companies, and the lowest pensions in the Europe, by a long way. Ireland has a pension of £180 per week and it is below many others.
However MPs pensions was had a 26% contribution from the tax payer, and after 14 years is bigger than most peoples salaries, added to which there is the resettlement grant of £40,000 for an MP who loses their set, plus plus etc.
2014-07-07 10:09

Ian Davidson says people “deserve certainty” and I fully agree with him. So why doesn’t he set an example and stop scaremongering. The pensions minister Steve Webb confirmed that our pensions will be paid because we have paid in. That seems a fairly definitive answer to me and it’s already happening as he says. I know a number of people who live abroad and receive what they are due.
But what the Nos overlook is that nothing in the future is certain. My brother worked hard all his life and was never unemployed but was forced to “retire” just before his 65th birthday. He died just 3 months later. He would have been voting Yes but didn’t live long enough to see the SNP majority government which has afforded us this once in a lifetime opportunity to regain our independence.
2014-07-07 10:36

The problem for the pro-independence parties is that this kind of nonsensical and unfounded claim from Project Fear resonates with those approaching pension age as well as those already receiving a pension, because it goes unchallenged in the mainstream media owing to the conspiricy of bias against YES in the printed media and especially the BBC.

For example Project Fear are today making the outrageous claim that the Scottish NHS is safer whilst Scotland remains under Westminster rule when nothing could be farther from the truth. Yet they get away with it because the media won’t challenge the claim by citing what is happening with creeping privatisation of the NHS south of the border which will be exported to Scotland in due course if it votes NO.
2014-07-07 11:02

The supposedly neutral television media will give these unionist scare stories full publicity. What’s left of their reputation [!] is rotting in the gutter. The stench is suffocating.
2014-07-07 11:11

A leuk forrit tae the day whan a Scottish government haes the pouer tae set the auld age pension in Scotland. A howp an aw that oor auld age pensions is set at a fixed percentage o the Scottish MPs’ pensions sae that, gin MPs gets a 5% rise, the pensioners will get a 5% hike an aw.
Jacque De Molay
2014-07-07 14:11

“You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you”.

Eric Hoffer
From The Suburbs
2014-07-07 14:19

It’s official: the British state pension at a maximum of £113 is the most miserable in Europe.

Compared to average income, even Hungary and Slovenia better the pension benefits 12.3m British pensioners receive, according to a new OECD report.…/…

Ireland’s basic state pension is much better than the UKs at 219 euros or £180 a week compared to UKs £113 a week…/…

In Norway the 2013 basic pension for a single person is £1429 a month.

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