Category Archives: Opinion

Beware post-Brexit trade deals

Chicken washed in chlorine

Beef injected with hormones

Bourbon sold as “Scottish Whiskey”

 

Are those what you want to see in Scottish shops ?

  

After Brexit, the Westminster Government wish to set up trade deals with the USA, who will insist as part of the deal that we import products from them, such as the above items.

 

Is this what you want to see in your local shops and supermarkets ?

 

There’s only one way to avoid it – Scotland needs to become independent, so that we can stay in the European Single Market and Customs Union.

 

Then – and only then – will we be able to keep such products out of Scotland and also keep European rules that protect working conditions for Scottish employees, protect the quality and safety of our food and avoid restrictions on people from overseas being allowed to come here to work in our Health Service and to help with fruit and vegetable harvesting

Keep Scotland the Brand !

 

Protect distinctive Scottish produce !

Reaching Out to Older Voters

How to inform older voters about independence issues has a number of constraints that are not true of other age groups.

Traditionally all voters have been informed by the range of daily and weekly newspapers, and the broadcasters. But with these conduits to the public often being governed by editorial and often political imperatives, the range, scope and even accuracy of the information is today, in these outlets, is being regularly brought into question.

It is well accepted, from whatever side of the argument you fall, that it is a bad situation for democracy that Scottish print media has 95%-97% of published content owned by individuals or organisations that are hostile to any change in the constitution of the UK. With this must come an acceptance, that having no requirement for partiality, their coverage will be consistently biased in reflecting promotion of the status quo, and therefore will project Scottish Independence, along with other non-establishment views, and those who advocate them, in a negatives light.

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It’s a no-brainer!

Consider these two pieces of information:-

1 – A leaked UK Government report shows that a worst-case hard Brexit (apparently the UK Government’s preferred option) is likely to cost the economy of the UK £2bn a week.

2 – A majority of Scots voted to remain in the EU and keep our membership of the single market and customs union, but Scotland as part of the UK faces being taken out of the EU.

Now, the only way for Scots to avoid the catastrophic results of a hard Brexit is for Scotland to become an independent country and remain a member of the EU.

No brainer or what?

UK pensions among the worst in the developed world, study finds

British workers can expect among the worst pensions in the developed world, according to a report from investment bank UBS, which compared the retirement outlook for a 50-year-old woman in major cities across the globe.

Pensions compared

How much a state plus “mandatory” pension will be worth at retirement as a proportion of current income, based on a 50-year-old female in each city
Singapore 73%
Sydney 72%
Paris 69%
Milan 67%
New York 55%
Tokyo 55%
Munich 50%
Zurich 48%
Toronto 42%
London 41%
Hong Kong 41%
Taipei 32%

Read the full article.

Treasury saves £5 billion a year as pension reforms leave more than one million women worse off

The government must reconsider punishing changes to women’s pensions after it emerged earlier reforms boosted state coffers by more than £5 billion a year, campaigners say.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found more than one million women are worse-off by an average of £32 a week after the retirement age moved from 60 to 63.

The change, which happened between 2010 and 2016, has taken 1.1 million women off the pensions book, saving the UK Government £4.2bn on the state support and related benefits.

Read more at The National

Building support for Pensioners for Independence

We now have active campaigning groups in Edinburgh and Lothians and in Glasgow and West of Scotland.  The aim is to try to set up groups based around each of the other cities in Scotland, and after that to attempt to reach out into the surrounding rural areas.  We are currently trying to identify people in and around other cities who might be interested in helping to set up new groups. This will enable us to be raising the profile of P for I throughout Scotland and preparing the ground for indyref2.

The Tories are at it again – they never learn !

So, the Tories are looking after their own in the insurance markets!  Who would have guessed ?

Quote from a city worker:

“The Conservatives will attempt to soften the blow by promising that pensioners will not have to sell their homes to pay for their care costs while they or a surviving partner are alive. Instead, ‘products will be available’ allowing the elderly to pay by extracting equity from their homes, which will be recovered at a later date when they die or sell their residence.”

The following has recently been posted online:

‘People need to read the small print associated with this because it’s a lot nastier than it looks.  I work in the city. The insurance industry was approached by the Government several months ago with the aim of creating a new market for a new product.

This arrangement is a culmination of those discussions.  You won’t have to sell your house PROVIDED that you purchase an insurance product to cover your social care.  The ‘premiums’ would be recovered from the equity after the house had been sold and the insurance company would have a lien on the house and could force a sale if it wanted to. So your offspring couldn’t keep it on the market for long in order to get the best price.

The real kicker in this is that in order to encourage the industry to market these products the Government guaranteed that there would be no cap on the premiums.

This was in some ways “atonement” for Osborne’s destruction of the highly lucrative annuities market.  This means that the premiums could be up to (and including) the entire remaining equity in the property after the Government had taken its cut. Companies will be falling over themselves to get their snouts in this trough.

In short your offspring and relatives could get absolutely nothing from your estate.

If you buy one of these products you need to read the small print very carefully indeed because there will be some real dogs on the market.

I suspect that this is another financial scandal waiting to happen. but by the time it does May will be long gone.”

Triple-lock on state pensions

There has been renewed publicity paid just recently to the future of the triple-lock on state pensions.

This is the committment made some time ago that annual increases will be whichever is the greatest of :-  the rate of inflation, the change in the Consumer Prices Index, and 2.5%.   Both the Conservatives and Labour have said they will discontinue the triple-lock in the near future, whereas the SNP have made it clear that, in an independent Scotland, an SNP Government would maintain it indefinitely.  Pensioners in Scotland do not really need any more reason than this for voting SNP and for Independence, but just in case more incentive is required, what about protecting your free ‘bus passes, because if we elect another Tory Government at Westminster that is hell-bent on more austerity measures, you can be sure retired people’s bus passes will be in the firing line next !

 

Tory pensions bombshell

Angus Robertson asked PM May a simple question to guarantee the pensions triple lock. She failed to. Pensioners should fear Tory pensions bombshell.

Calling the election has delayed the Government’s plans to push back the state pension age and abandon the triple lock, due to be announced on 5 May. As things stand, May might sound an attractive proposition to middle-aged Brits, but her proposal to target pensioners’ benefits – or, as I prefer to call them, their rights – will drastically affect every voter under the age of 45 too.

Governments can review the pension age every five years, and the former Director of the CBI, John Cridland, recently published a report proposing that the age be raised to 68 from 2037, seven years earlier than planned. He wants to get rid of the “triple lock”, which protects the value of pensions against the rising cost of living, and make pensions relate to earnings instead – means-testing by another name.