Independence offers greater financial security for senior citizens
Yes Scotland has launched a recruitment drive for ‘Silver Scots’ ambassadors to take the independence message to the country’s senior citizens.
The first meeting of Seniors for Yes was held in Perth at the weekend and campaigners plan to reach communities the length and breadth of Scotland in the 15 months to the referendum in September 2014.
Volunteers for senior ambassador roles attended the inaugural meeting in the town’s AK Bell Library to join the campaign and hear Yes Scotland speakers.
Yes Scotland Advisory Board Chairman Dennis Canavan spelled out the reasons – as a former parliamentarian and a pensioner himself – why he believed that independence was the best option for everyone in the country, including pensioners.
He said: "I fervently believe that the people of Scotland will be more financially secure in their retirement if pensions are the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament rather than Westminster.
"Look at the track record of UK Governments over recent years – remember the shocking tax raid on pensions which cost pension funds over £100 billion, pushing many funds into deficit and forcing many final salary schemes to close As a result, many pensioners suffered.
"And now the current Tory-Lib Dem coalition has given us the infamous granny tax, with the phasing out of age-related tax allowances. And, most significantly, changes to the state pension will see the vast majority worse off, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
"Contrast that with the record of the Scottish Parliament. Pensioners have benefited from free personal care, the council tax freeze and a nationwide bus pass.
"In an independent Scotland, the Scottish Parliament would have full responsibility for pensions and would therefore be able to do so much more to ensure a fairer deal for senior citizens."
The Scottish Government has published a comprehensive paper outlining pensions policy proposals for an independent Scotland. The corner stone is protecting existing rights, entitlements and protections to state, public sector and private pensions.
Scotland’s Finance Secretary today took the opportunity of a conference on pensions to announce that on independence, the current Scottish Government planned to protect both the existing state pension and the new Single Tier Pension (STP) with a “triple lock”. That means that each year both existing basic state pension and the new STP (to be introduced in 2016) would increase by whichever was highest of 2.5%, price inflation (CPI), or average earnings increases.
At the end of the day a rising income is the basis for a better living standard, and pay should be enough for us all to afford the costs of living. Thanks to the Westminster approach, our economy fails to provide this basic deal: today a report said nine out of ten Scots have received a real-terms pay cut in the past year.
Yes Scotland has welcomed the STUC's latest A Just Scotland report, in particular the strengthening of the case for more powers for Scotland, and that the status quo, or a limited extension of devolution, which remains the No position, is no longer a credible option.