After the Coalition Government’s Spending Review, Linda Fabiani has warned East Kilbride’s pensioners that Westminster can’t be trusted on pensions.
As part of Wednesday’s spending review announcement, the Coalition Government introduced a cap on welfare spend, to be reviewed on an annual basis.
The coalition has excluded the basic state pension from the cap, but Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said he will include it if Labour is returned to power.
Linda repeated the commitment given by John Swinney, Scottish Government Finance Minister, that an independent Scotland would maintain the value of the state pension. This would be done by carrying forward current UK policy of ‘triple locking’ the increase in pensions to the highest of price inflation, increase in average earnings, or a minimum of 2.5%.
“The real threat to pensions comes from Westminster and a No vote in the referendum.
“Westminster’s record on pensions is dismal. The National Association of Pension Funds has described the UK’s state pension as the “worst in Europe.”
“Spending on pensions and benefits takes up a lower share of Scotland’s economy than in the UK as a whole, which means that they are more affordable for Scotland to maintain.
“While in government, Labour refused to guarantee state pension increases and took billions out of UK pension funds. It looks like Ed Balls would follow Gordon Brown’s lead.
“Already a majority of people in Scotland believe that welfare and pensions policy, and taxation, should be decided by Holyrood not Westminster.
“With a Yes vote we can use Scotland’s wealth and resources to protect pensions and provide the benefits our older people need.”
1) BBC Video and reaction to Ed Balls policy announcement http://bit.ly/1240xzw
2) STV story on pensions in Scotland http://bit.ly/10lDmDe
3) Quote by NAPF in this BBC article http://bbc.in/12428oR
4) YouGov/SNP Poll (Fieldwork: 20th-22nd March 2013)
Which government do you think would be best at deciding welfare and pensions policy for Scotland?
The UK government 34
The Scottish government 53
Don’t know 13
Which government do you think should be responsible for all tax and spending decisions in Scotland, including tax revenues from oil and gas?
The UK government 35
The Scottish government 52
Don’t know 13