FABIANI BACKS PENSIONS DEBATE

 Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has welcomed a Scottish Parliament debate on changes to public sector pensions as hundreds of thousands of workers plan to go on strike over the Westminster reforms. The debate has been called by Scottish Ministers who believe Westminster’s approach to public sector pension reform is “misguided”, and follows a threat from the UK Government to remove £8.4m a month from Scotland if the pension changes are not imposed.

Linda said “As more than two million workers are gearing up for the biggest day of industrial unrest since the 1979 Winter of Discontent, MSPs in Holyrood will be speaking up for Scotland on this issue as our Government in Scotland believes that the UK Government’s rushed approach to pensions’ reform is very, very wrong.

“The UK Government has done very little to support families through the recession – increasing VAT and National Insurance and the cost of fuel.  Now they continue their attack on workers’ pensions.

“In contrast the Scottish Government has frozen the Council Tax, scrapped the tax on the sick through the abolition of prescription fees and supported students, ensuring a university degree is based on a student’s ability to learn, not the ability to pay. 

“Increasing public sector worker’s contributions to their pension schemes at this time and in this way is nothing more than a short-term cash grab to reduce the deficit. It does nothing to address the sustainability of pensions over the long term.

“The Scottish Government fully supports the aims of those taking action.  Finance Secretary, John Swinney has this week written to George Osborne stating that the Scottish Government cannot support these changes on such a constrained timetable.”

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