Sunday, 8 December 2013

Leading Law Firm says Retirement Could be More Appealing in Independent Scotland


Moves by George Osborne to increase the retirement age have once again shown that the referendum is a choice of two futures, as a leading law firm made clear that the Scottish Government’s approach would make an independent Scotland more appealing than the UK for pensioners.

Chris Leitch, Head of Employment at leading law firm Tods Murray, highlighted that the higher retirement age announced at Westminster yesterday means that the plans outlined in Scotland’s Future for an independent Scotland “would make retiring in Scotland a more appealing prospect".

Mr Leitch also made clear that “if Scotland votes ‘Yes’ next year and the White Paper plans become a reality, Scotland could arguably be a more attractive place to be a pensioner than the rest of the UK."

The guide to an independent Scotland published last month makes clear that the Scottish Government is “not persuaded" about previously announced moves to increase the state pension age to 67, and this latest announcement means Westminster will raise the retirement age to 69 by the 2040s. After a Yes vote, an independent commission on the state pension age will be established and tasked with considering the appropriate rate of increase of the state pension age for Scotland over the long term, and asked to report within two years of Scotland becoming independent.

Commenting, SNP Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon MSP said:

“This recognition that an independent Scotland will be a more appealing prospect for older people than being under the Westminster system is a significant one.

“It shows why we need the ability to make our own decisions when it comes to pensions in Scotland – something that polling has consistently shown people in Scotland are in favour of.

“Scotland’s lower life expectancy means that people experience fewer years in retirement than the UK average. And while we are of course working extremely hard to continue improving life expectancy in Scotland through a series of public health measures, this disparity is an important one that should be recognised - and would be if we were deciding pensions policy in Scotland. That is why we are far from convinced by Westminster’s rush to make people work for longer - and for less.

“George Osborne’s plans to force people to delay retirement even further appear gives no consideration to Scotland’s circumstances – something that is sadly predictable from Westminster.

“It shows once again that next year’s referendum is a choice of two futures – a choice between an independent Scotland that reflects Scotland’s needs and priorities, or a Westminster system that continues to let our older people down.

“What is absolutely clear is that a Yes vote next year is the only way for Scotland to ensure that the state pension age in Scotland is one that fully matches Scotland’s circumstances. A Yes vote in next year’s referendum is a vote for a fairer pensions system that protects and safeguards the incomes of older people in Scotland."

A YouGov opinion poll for the Times in September asked whether Pensions policy should be run by the Scottish Government or the UK Government and found the following results:

Should be run by the Scottish government: 51%
Should be run by the UK government: 41%
Not sure: 8%
Lead: +10%

YouGov analysis
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