SNP Conference Passes Motion on State Pensions

By coincidence, in the same week as we have been promoting our new leaflet on Pensions, a motion was passed at the SNP Conference calling for an increase of State Pension in an Independent Scotland to the same level as the OECD average and supporting the commissioning of a Scottish State Pension Plan. The data referred to in the motion echoes much of the information on our leaflet.

You can download a PDF file with all our data on State Pensions and how ours compares to other developed countries: Pension Data

Or for a quick idea of how another small country much the same size as Scotland is doing with their State Pension, this will give you the general idea:

There are two UK State Pension: Men born after 6Apr 1951 and women born after 6Apr 1953. are eligible for the new state pension, now £168 / week. Anyone born before that date receives the basic pension rate, now £129/week.. Ref: at Gov.Uk Pensions

Now I bet most of us would be pleased if our State Pension was the same as Ireland’s. But Ireland’s State pension itself is still below the average for EU countries. Here’s how UK, Ireland compares with average State Pensions:

OECD Figures Source for EU28 Countries. The graph shows the percentage of state pensions to pre-retirement earnings for each country..

The UK pension is 29% of average pre-retirement earnings. We’ve used the data for men only as the current changes to women’s retirement age makes their data more complex. Ireland’s pensions is 42% of pre-retirement earnings. But the average EU Pensions is 71%. In other words EU average pension is almost two and a half times ours, in terms of pre-retirement earnings. If you use £145 as UK Pension, ie somewhere between £125 and £163, then we’d be receiving £355 a week.

Is this going to be possible in a newly independent Scotland? Well, certainly not immediately, but at least we’d have a Parliament at Holyrood who’d likely be trying to get us up to that level. SNP would be trying to do that and it’s not a stretch to surmise that the Scottish Greens, Labour and maybe LibDems would also support it. And that would be much better than what we have at the moment : State Pensions are not devolved to Holyrood but are instead in the hands of Westminster and whoever the English electorate votes into power. A Scottish State Pension Plan is the first step. Oh, wait, the first step is an independent Scotland.

15 thoughts on “SNP Conference Passes Motion on State Pensions

  1. Nigel Burnett

    Gday,
    My wife and I are both Scottish and residing in Australia. We are wanting to return home, but are wondering about our pensions. I am an ex serving soldier in the Austarlian army back in 1968-70, and went to Vietnam, I am on a Gold card here, and receive an army service pension as does my wife, and I receive a disability pension, plus I recieve as does my wife a UK pension.
    Will I be able to keep these when I return to Scotland?

    1. MmH Post author

      G’day!
      I’m afraid we can’t answer that question, Nigel. Obviously your UK pensions are safe if you move back. But sounds as if the other pensions are from Australian Gov and you’d need to check what their regulations are.

  2. Raymond Reid

    It’s blatant discrimination against the uk by the uk government and this is another reason they are trying to leave Europe, because they have been told to bring the pensions in line with Europe, so hopefully once we are independent this will be normal and hopefully a level playing field will happen for all members of the EU

    1. MmH Post author

      I’ve heard that comment made elsewhere, ie that “they have been told to bring the pensions in line with Europe“. I’m afraid it’s not true. EU Commission / Parliament does not have any power over State Pensions in Member States.

      I think the source for comments like yours is in a related, but different, push in EU to regulate on work pensions and the kinds of charges, final payments, etc that pension funds oversee. It’s called the EU Pensions Directive and it’s concerned with Occupational Pensions. More about it here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/banking-and-finance/insurance-and-pensions/occupational-pension-funds_en

  3. Pamela Emery

    Wish I lived in Scotland, more SNP MP’S are supporting us 60’s ladies who have had their pensions robbed, 6 more years to work with little or no notice

  4. Pamela Emery

    Wish I lived in Scotland, more SNP MP’S are supporting us 50’s ladies who have had their pensions robbed, 6 more years to work with little or no notice

  5. James Canny

    The SNP are the only party that has recognised and have a conscience for how pensioner’s should be treated…….

    Well done SNP……

    1. MmH Post author

      I agree with you. I won’t happen overnight, of course, but if the principle is agreed that’s the necessary first step.

  6. Norman Howell

    With a pension of this nature there would be almost no need for claiming “Council tax Benefits ” Re-instate bridge tolls on Tay, Skye Forth etc whilst sustaining free prescriptions. It’s a NO BRAINER

    1. MmH Post author

      Yes, that’s true. It would pull pensioners out of the need to claim benefits. That would be a good thing as there are many pensioners who are not claiming the benefits they are entitled to. In 2015, ScotGov estimate that estimated that for tax credits and the main income-related benefits, there could be over 500,000 cases of individuals or families in Scotland not claiming benefits they were entitled to. That’a a lot of people and a good few of them will be pensioners. Overall in UK, only 62% of those eligible for pension credits actually claim them.

      Keith Robson, Age Scotland Chief Executive said:

      “It is so important that the Scottish Government is taking action to encourage people to get the help they’re entitled to. It is vital people recognise the system is there for anybody who needs it, and that this is support to which people are entitled.

      “Every year we ensure older people claim hundreds of thousands of pounds in benefit payments they would otherwise not have received, and the charity provides information and advice on benefits specifically for older people. One recent caller to our helpline found she was eligible for more than £7,000 a year in benefits.”

      See here for more info: https://news.gov.scot/news/call-to-encourage-uptake-of-benefits

  7. Neil Lovatt

    So why doesn’t the Scottish Parliament legislate to increase the Scottish pension right now under Section 24 of the Scotland Act 2016, which enables top up increases to reserved benefits such as Pensions.

    This power has been confirmed by the SNP Government under FOI so I’m bemused as to why this requires independence?

    1. MmH Post author

      Thanks for the info about FOI enquiries about this.

      I’ve found the FOI request to DWP in June 2017 which is in your name so I’m assuming that these are the ones you refer to? (If there are other relevant FOI, please let us know the link to them.)

      Your request specified WASPI women and asked if “the Scottish Government would be precluded from providing a new benefits to these women before their retirement age as this would by definition not be a pension.” You acknowledged that ScotGov had no powers to increase pensions to people of pension age: “This exception does not except providing assistance by way of pensions to or in respect of individuals who qualify by reason of old age.”

      In July 2017 DWP replied and gave their view on the matter and some correspondence with Jeanne Freeman, who at that time had the job of setting up the Scottish Social Security Dept after the 2016 Scotland Act, as.Scottish Secretary for Social Security

      It is stated clearly by DWP, and you seemed to acknowledge this in your FOI, that the Scottish Governmen does not have the power to increase State Pension payments to people of pension age. See this from DWP’s reply:”…this power cannot be used to provide pensions to people who qualify by reason of old age”

      So I’m a bit confused by your comment here asking why SNP don’t just increase pensions now. State Pensions are not devolved and they have no power over either the amount of pension or pension age.

      I do understood that you were asking a different question in your 2017 FOI. DWP Minister was of the opinion that SCotGov could make a new benefit to WASPI women as they were by definition not of pension age. Jeanne Freeman’s response to the Minister was that ScotGov’s advice is the they do not have such power. Did you ever get any further with that, specific, question?

      I can imagine that, no matter their sympathies towards WASPI women, ScotGov might baulk at his suggestion that they compensate women for a loss of pension when it’s Westminster who received the NI contributions that entitle them to a pension. Overall DWP stands to save £34billion as a result of the pension age changes for men and women. See more here in an earlier post.

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