The UK state pension is the worst in Europe.
(source: Pensions at a Glance 2013: OECD and G20 Indicators)
At £145.40 (including all add-ons) it is £55 less than that in independent Ireland. As a result, almost half of Scottish pensioner households can’t afford to keep their home warm in winter despite living in one of the most energy rich countries in Europe.
Now, the UK government intends to increase the retirement age, extend the eligibility period by five additional years, and reduce the full amount to £144 (with no more add-ons). Westminster has already made adverse changes to conditions and contributions to public sector pension schemes.
On day one of Independence people will continue to receive their existing pensions (as confirmed in writing by the DWP) and pension rights built up through NI will be transferred to the new Scottish system. Scottish pensions are already administered in Dundee and Motherwell.
The current Scottish Government is committed to a “triple-lock” protection so that your pension will not fall behind increases in wages or prices. This is possible because Scotland has paid more in taxes per head of population than the rest of the UK for each of the last 30 years, meaning we spend a lower percentage of our national wealth on welfare and pensions, thus making these payments more affordable.
Even bigger improvements are possible as an Independent Scotland, in full control of its resources and economy, would be the 14th richest country in the world per head of population (2012 figures). We could certainly afford to be make increases rather than cuts to our state pension in the fairer and more equal society we seek to create.
Public sector pensions will be taken over by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Public Pensions Agency already administers NHS and teachers pension schemes and regulates police, fire and local government schemes. These arrangements will remain following independence and your pension rights in these schemes will be unaffected.
Civil servants in UK-wide pension schemes will continue to contribute and be entitled to all rights earned up to independence when these schemes will be taken over by the Scottish Government.
Private pensions will be unaffected as they are a contractual agreement between you and your pension provider.
Successive Scottish governments have already helped pensioners by introducing free personal care and the concessionary travel scheme. After independence all decisions affecting pensions will be taken by a Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament rather than Westminster.
Protect your pension by voting YES