The SNP has today criticised the Tories and Labour who are united in plans to make people in Scotland wait more than a decade longer than people south of the border to have a third of their adult life in retirement.
2032 is the date set for England in which people will spend a third of their adult lives in retirement for a State Pension Age (SPA) of 68, with people in Scotland waiting until 2045 for the policy to have the same effect.
The plans, which are backed by Labour’s Shadow Pensions Minister Gregg McClymont, follows a recent publication by the National Institute of Economic Research which shows that Scotland is disadvantaged by having the same state pension age as the rest of the UK, and that pensions in Scotland would be six to eight per cent cheaper than the rest of the UK.
Meanwhile, surveys consistently show that people in Scotland want decisions on pensions and welfare to be made in Scotland – with the latest Social Attitudes Survey finding 57% want the Scottish Government to have control over these areas.
SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing, who sits on the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee, said:
“This is an unfair proposal that will unfairly penalise older people in Scotland. The fact that Labour and the Tories are united in their position serves as further proof that Westminster isn’t working for Scotland.
“The Scottish Government is taking strong action to improve Scotland’s life expectancy figures, but the shocking reality is that Scotland, though part of the UK, has lower life expectancy than the rest of the country, and a one size fits all pensions policy simply cannot reflect Scotland’s circumstances. Older people in Scotland spend a lower portion of their lives in retirement than those in other parts of the UK – a fact that Westminster policy fails to take into account.
“A Yes vote will allow Scotland to set our own pensions policy, and set a system pension age that reflects Scottish circumstances.
“Social protection costs represent a lower share of tax revenues in Scotland than for the UK as a whole – meaning pensions are more affordable for Scotland – and the Social Attitudes survey confirms that people want decisions on pensions and welfare to be made in the Scottish Parliament rather than by Westminster.
“Where Westminster has decimated pension schemes and is rushing ahead on an accelerated timetable that will see the stage pension age rise rapidly, a Yes vote in September will ensure that we have a pensions system that is right for Scotland.”
According to the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey which asked: “Which do you think ought to make the most important decisions for Scotland about the levels of welfare & benefits”:
– The Scottish Parliament: 57%
– The UK Government and Westminster: 22%
– Local Councils: 18%
– EU: –
– Don’t Know: 2%
– Refused: –
The Scottish Government’s paper on pensions in an independent Scotland can be viewed at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0043/00434502.pdf