Scottish independence: Sturgeon makes pensions vow

THE SNP has pledged to guarantee the level of current UK state pensions under independence.

Nicola Sturgeon has vowed that Scots pensions will match UK payouts

The party sent pledge cards to Scotland’s 1.2 million pensioners vowing an independent Scotland would ensure the state pension keeps “up with the cost of living”.

The UK government has stated that the basic state pension will increase every year by 2.5 per cent in line with either earnings or prices, whichever is highest. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday pledged to match that.

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Ms Sturgeon also claimed that the UK has “the second-lowest state pension among the nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development”.

She also repeated a promise set out in the SNP’s white paper – the Nationalist blueprint for leaving the UK – for a single-tier pension set at a minimum of £160 a week.

She said: “Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but for too many people – including far too many of our older people – it just doesn’t feel that way.

“Our pensioners have contributed hugely to society, and are entitled to get a fair deal in return for that. But under Westminster rule, the state pension is second-lowest in the developed world.

“Today, as older people across the country are waking up to the opportunity of independence for all generations and seeing through the scare stories of the anti-independence campaign we are setting out the independence guarantee that comes with a Yes vote – the ten reasons why pensions will be better in an independent Scotland.

“We will make sure that the state pension and pension credit, which is a particular issue for women, both keep up with the cost of living.

“They will both be fully protected by a triple-lock, which means they will rise in line with average earnings, inflation or a rate of 2.5 per cent – whichever is the highest.”

Ms Sturgeon has also promised that an SNP government in an independent Scotland would review Westminster’s plans to raise the state pension age to 67.

A spokesman from the anti-independence Better Together campaign said: “The pooling and sharing of resources across the UK is one of the biggest benefits of Scotland being part of the United Kingdom.

“The Nationalists are asking us to take a huge risk by walking away from the United Kingdom. It is a risk more and more people are saying No Thanks to.”