Friday, 18 July 2014

Pensioners will be better-off with independence

Local MSP Margaret Burgess has condemned the UK Government for “refusing to come clean” on the level at which the single-tier state pension would be set in 2016, if Scotland was to remain part of the British Union.

The SNP MSP contrasted the UK Government’s stance with the openness of the Scottish Government, saying, “We have been clear that new pensioners in an independent Scotland can expect to receive £160 per week on the single-tier pension from 2016. However, Westminster refuses to reveal what the UK rate would be.

“We’ve asked David Cameron and other UK party leaders to come clean, but it’s clear they’ve no intention of doing this before the referendum.

“All Westminster will say is that the new single-tier pension rate will be slightly above the minimum guarantee. That’s currently set at £148.35 per week, so a fair estimate of the UK single-tier pension rate will be around £155 per week in 2016. With independence, new pensioners in Scotland receiving the Single-Tier Pension will get £160 per week.”

The figures equate to pensioners in an independent Scotland being £260 a year better-off in terms of the state pension alone.

Mrs Burgess, MSP for Cunninghame South, said, “The Scottish Government is also committed to introducing a pensions triple-lock with independence. This means that pensions will increase either by the rate of inflation, the rise in earnings or 2.5 percent, whichever is highest.

“On top of this, we can establish a state pension age that meets Scotland’s needs, and immediately review Westminster’s plans to increase the retirement age to 67.

“Scotland has paid more tax per head than the rest of the UK for each and every one of the last 30 years, so spending on pensions is more affordable for Scotland. The figures show that 38 percent of Scottish tax revenues are spent on social protection, including pensions, compared to 42 percent for the UK as a whole.”

In addition to representing a local constituency, Margaret Burgess is also the SNP Scottish Government Minister for Housing & Welfare. She noted, “The Westminster parties cannot get away with hiding the truth from Scotland’s older people. They must come clean about how much our new pensioners stand to lose as part of the UK.

“Only independence will deliver the powers we need to bring about a fairer deal for our pensioners and ensure we have a pension system that is right for Scotland.”

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