Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Pensioners Set to Gain with YES Vote

Local pro-independence campaigners have highlighted the potentially huge gains for pensioners and those approaching pension age following a Yes vote for independence in September.

Locally, 12,315 people in Banff and Buchan are approaching retirement (aged 55-65), with 16,905 people in the constituency over the age of 65, according to Office of National Statistics estimates.

Co-ordinator for Yes Banff & Buchan Ross Cassie said the figures indicate that tens of thousands of people in Banff and Buchan stand to be better off with independence.

He said:

“Pensions and social benefits will be more affordable with independence. The proportion of Scotland’s income taken up by social protection (including pensions) is significantly lower than in the rest of the UK.

“This would give an independent Scottish Government a degree of flexibility with regards to pensions. The pro-independence parties committed to protecting pensions with a ‘triple lock’ so that pensions increase in line with inflation, earnings, or 2.5% - whichever is highest. This would be over the course of an independent Scottish Parliament’s first term, and compares favourably to the current situation, where the triple lock commitment by the Coalition is scheduled to end in 2016.

“In addition, the Scottish Government had already pledged to review the Westminster Government’s proposed increase of the pension age to 67. With Scotland’s firm financial footing, this is an increase we can comfortably afford to delay. By bringing full control of pensions to Holyrood, we can look seriously at tailoring pension policies to Scotland's needs.

“These are significant gains to be made for those who are retired, or are approaching retirement. We have a unique opportunity to design our pensions system to ensure that everyone can expect a dignified standard of living in old age, and it’s an opportunity we should grab with both hands. In a wealthy country such as Scotland, there should be no age-related poverty.”
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