By Martin Kelly
The former Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party has condemned his party’s defence of Tory pension and welfare plans.
Bob Thomson, who has been a member of Labour for more than fifty years, described comments from Margaret Curran as “meaningless and wrong” after the Labour MP claimed independence would leave Scots poorer.

Shadow Scottish secretary Curran said a Yes vote would mean massive cuts in public spending north and that those least well off would be hit hardest.

Ms Curran said: “The experts are clear – if we leave the UK we would have to make massive cuts in public spending.  This would hit those who have the least the hardest.

She added: “Leaving the UK would be a leap in the dark for those reliant on benefits or their pension.”

The comments from the Labour MP came as the anti-independence campaign Better Together, which includes the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems, published a new paper on pensions.

However Curran’s claim that Scots would be better off even with a Tory Government, than if independent were slammed by the former Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party.

Bob Thomson said:
“It is a sad day when the Labour Party are praising a Tory pensions and welfare system that is being dismantled before our eyes – no wonder over a third of Labour voters already plan to vote Yes in September, because we can deliver a better deal for older people and a genuine welfare state in an independent Scotland.
“It is extraordinary that Labour are describing as secure a UK welfare system which is cutting £6 billion from welfare support in Scotland, directly cutting benefits to women, children, disabled people and poorer pensioners and which will mean that an additional 100,000 children could be in poverty by 2020 according to the Child Poverty Action Group.
“Margaret Curran herself has called the Tory welfare cuts ‘brutal’ which will cause ‘misery for families across Scotland’ – yet the Labour leadership prefer Tory government in Scotland to self-government with independence.”

Speaking in August 2012, Curran claimed UK Government’s policies were costing Scottish households £450 per year.
“The Tory-led Government’s catalogue of errors is turning into a catalogue of misery for families across Scotland,” she told the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.
Ms Curran said the Coalition’s £18 billion of welfare cuts, £2bn of which would fall north of the Border, would have a “brutal effect on Scotland”.

Mr Thompson added: “Pensions will be paid on time and in full in an independent Scotland, triple-locked to at least keep pace with the cost of living, and we will also have the powers to review Westminster’s unfair plans to increase the age when people get the state pension.
“That’s why the Scottish Social Attitudes survey shows that 63 per cent of people want pensions policy to be decided in Scotland, not by Westminster.  In standing with the Tories on cuts to pensions and welfare, Labour are standing against the people.”

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.”


Alien Act
2014-07-08 22:54

Labour Is in bed with the Tories and LibDems not because they think the coalitions policies are the best for Scotland, but to save their jobs, their expenses and their space at the trough.
Each and every Scottish MP at Westminster knows that after a Yes vote they are going to be made redundant and that is the reason they want us to vote no.
2014-07-08 23:58

Labour`s true “Scottish voice must be heard in this debate. I`m sure it is key to secure a YES vote. The likes of Curran have no credibility if they are challenged on their stance and the endless lies they tell us to secure the gravy train. I actually think the Labour party in Scotland will be unable now to attract any decent principled persons to serve the people who deserve much better than a two faced party which only serves itself. Scottish Labour are dead in the water with nothing but hatred for the choices we as Scot`s have made in recent years and they will punish us for it whether it is a conscious act or not.
They should have fought for devo max which most Scots would have voted for i`m sure but they care not for what we want. This is evident and they want us to trust in them. Better Together, No Thanks.
2014-07-09 03:00

Too many liars.

Not enough hero’s in the MSM.
2014-07-09 03:59

……but will any of this ever see the light of day in news reports from the BBC and newsprint media which is all controlled by Westminster?
2014-07-09 08:23

If Labour voters want a Scottish Labour party with strong socialist and humanist principles at its core it can be achieved in two simple steps.

1. Vote yes to independence which will free their party from the Westminster system of patronage and power.

2. Clean house. Show the current party leadership the door.

If the number of YES conversion stories we’ve seen is anything to go by, we are aware of how heart sick the Labour voter is of the attitude and actions of their parliamentary leadership. These actions will not change unless the membership and voters are free of Westminster influence.

Send a message that Labour in Scotland is worth fighting for. A Scottish Labour party with a distinctive voice and a party that puts service to the people before self interest and career.
2014-07-09 11:02

Interesting to see the list of people who have contributed to the No Thanks Scotland campaign in order to preserve the culture of Me first and continued undemocratic London rule.
I think the two aspects are one and the same thing in which New Labour are up to their arm pits.
Dundonian West
2014-07-09 11:17

Five NO voters think outside the box and journey to Yes. The Independent yesterday.…/…
Jacque De Molay
2014-07-09 16:15

I cannot understand the logic of Labour Party officials. They would rather oppose the SNP even though the issue is not the SNP. The social welfare improvements for the old and poor are obvious. Scotland will always seek a fairer country.

The Independence campaign has never been about the SNP.

We have two simple stages
a) a YES or NO vote
b) Party politics regardless of the vote outcome.

I want a YES under a)
I don’t care under b)


Because once we have a YES for a)then Scotland will get progessively fairer regardless of the party / parties in power (Except Tory but that won’t happen)
walter scott
2014-07-09 16:21

Margaret Curran’s words being described as meaningless and wrong is hardly a surprise. She often finishes a sentence with the middle management business speak words “going forward” She can’t help being meaningless & wrong

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