Prestige Tax and Trust Services were interested in what former prime minister Gordon Brown had to say about Scottish pensions during the debate over Scotland’s independence from the UK.
He gave a speech from the Better Together campaign, who stand opposed to Scottish Independence, in which he said that the number of pensioners in Scotland is rising quicker than the UK average. Dr Eilidh Whiteford, representing the SNP, said that these claims were ludicrous and that pensions in an independent Scotland would be far more affordable than they are currently.
Gordon Brown went on to say that Scottish people have paid UK National Insurance throughout their lives and said it is only right that the UK bears the cost of this.
Mr Brown was speaking at Glasgow University and feels that the debate should not focus on whether voters are for or against the union, but should instead make clear the two visions of Scotland’s future. As it stands, there is the nationalist view, which would break all political links with the UK, and the unionist view that sees a Scottish Parliament that is still backed and sttached to the UK Parliament.
It has been predicted that the number of pensioners in will rise from 1 million to 1.3 million in the next 20 years. These predictions are coming from previously unpublished DWP figures.
They also suggest that Scotland pays 8% of UK National Insurance but receives around 9% of the benefits. The UK is also offering to underwrite Scotland’s pension bill with an estimated £100bn, which is 10% of the UK total, even though just 8% of the population reside in the Scotland.
The Better Together campaign is currently focussing on the pensions debate as a means of weakening support for the independence bid, outlining the ways in which they feel Scotland could be financially unstable.
Dr Whiteford for the SNP said in response that pensions are far more affordable in Scotland than the rest of the UK, a fact supported by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. Insurance providers, including the DWP itself, have made it clear that pensions will be unaffected should Scotland become independent from the UK.
She also questioned why Gordon Brown, in his speech, used the NHS as an example of a great UK partnership at a time when the Conservatives are working hard to eliminate the basic principles of the system.
She added: “With independence we will be able to ensure a fair deal for pensioners, with a triple lock on the state pension to keep pace with the cost of living, a review of the pension age to ensure it is right for Scotland’s pensioners and a fair approach to public sector pensions.”
At Prestige Tax and Trust Services we know how scary it can be to plan for the future. At this time of change for the UK, it might be a good idea to think about pensions and investments. Visit our website for our full range of services. You can also follow us on Twitter for regular updates.