Money worries are at the forefront of many people approaching pension age and a new study commissioned by ex-Chancellor Gordon Brown has shown that Scottish OAPs are £500 better off in the Union.
Overall, Scots currently get £9.6billion in pension and old-age benefits, which is £500 million more than if the pension pot was divided according to the size of our population.
A new report by the Scottish Affairs Committee claims that Alex Salmond’s plans to let Scots retire at 66, rather than 67 like the rest of the UK, is an unscrupulous mirage and totally infeasible, as it would cost an estimated £800million annually.
“This is the biggest mis-selling scandal in history,” they claimed. The nationalist administration is “failing to acknowledge the costs and complexities of disentangling Scottish claimants from the UK welfare system.”
Another pension promise – to link pension rises to inflation increases or 2.5%, whichever is higher – has been discredited as a major accounting firm has calculated that this promise would cost £148million in 2019, rising to £272million by 2025.
Also, Scotland’s population approaching pension age is proportionately higher than the rest of the UK, while its workforce age is growing more slowly, so Salmond’s pension policies would place an infeasible burden on the existing workforce. Salmond’s plan to lift restrictions on non-EU immigration is a snap solution without any consideration for the new issues it raises like a burden on services, housing, transportation and health care, says the Scottish Affairs Committee.
“Migration requires careful management,” it stated. “It would be very challenging indeed to manage and yet these levels are still not enough to address the affordability problems in relation to old age pensions which are thrown up by separation.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Research Society, a group opposed to Scottish independence, says:
“These reports just go to show how Alex Salmond is dishing promises that he simply can’t deliver. The sums just don’t add up and the results of these empty promises would be catastrophic for Scottish voters and the Scottish economy. The people deserve sound economic policies based on sound fact rather than a hopeful crystal ball.”