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 file (PDF, ??Kb) 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:
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:
The UK pension is 29% of average pre-retirement earnings. I’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.
Last week saw us take delivery of two new leaflets.
The Generations leaflet is a way of asking older Scots who are not yet convinced about backing independence to compare their concerns for the future with the concerns that their grandchildren, grandnieces & nephews have for the future. We hope it makes an important point. Sometimes the older generation, who mostly voted No in 2014 and who are still mostly No inclined, are portrayed as being in opposition to younger Scots. The leaflet makes the point that when you look at the different concerns of different generations, those concerns are actually inter-related. And independence can solve them for all of us. More info here and a higher resolution file you can download and print out yourself. It’s A5 size.
The Pensions leaflet highlights just how low the UK State Pension is compared to EU countries. Yet Scotland has a thriving and diverse economy and massive natural resources. How much better if we had the power to use those resources and our economy to do things like raise the State Pension to even the average level in developed countries. A great deal of effort went into gathering all the data to back up the statements on the leaflet. You can find a link to that data here, along with a higher resolution file which you can download and print out for yourself. The leaflet size is A4. Our print run has it folded to A5 size.
Or, If you would like to order these leaflets to give to your friends, your group or to drop through the letter-boxes in your neighbourhood, send us a query via our Contact page. We’re offering them at cost price, plus any postage.
Philippa Whitford became MP for Central Ayrshire in 2015. She is the SNP spokesperson for Health at Westminster. If you ever watched her quizzing Jeremy Hunt when he was Secretary of State for Health, you’ll have enjoyed her grasp of detail, persistence and dry humour and the obvious discomfiture of Mr Hunt when faced with someone who knew more about the NHS than he did. Before her entry into politics Philippa was a consultant breast cancer surgeon working in Ayrshire.
She has given this talk in many places around the country. It’s well worth watching.
Glasgow P4Indy group invited John Drummond to their August meeting today to talk about a Scottish Constitution. John, along with Canon Kenyon Wright, was one of the founders of the Constitutional Commission, back in 2005. And on the Commission’s website you find these three principles underpinning how they have tried to progress the idea of a written constitution for Scotland:
The work of the Constitutional Commission starts from three axioms. Firstly, that legitimate sovereignty in Scotland resides in the “whole community of the realm”, and not in the Queen-in-Parliament at Westminster.
Secondly, that a written and entrenched Constitution, endorsed by the whole community, guaranteeing the rights of citizens, and delimiting the powers, duties and responsibilities of the institutions of State, is necessary in order to establish the right relationship between the State and the people in a liberal democracy.
Thirdly, that liberal democracy cannot exist merely in procedural terms, but must be sustained by civic, humane and democratic values.
you can find out more here: Constitutional Commission John is currently giving this talk to Indy supporting groups all over Scotland so if you’re interested, contact him via this website.
The video below is John giving the talk a few months back. It’s approximately what he said in Glasgow today. But because since this version from March 2019, the UK is in the grip of a constitutional crisis, we heard a lot more about the current attempts by Boris Johnson to prorogue Parliament and what that could presage for the Scottish independence movement.
There have been several news items about UK State Pension this week. The House of Commons library produced a briefing about country-by-country comparisons of state pensions back in May. Don’t remember it being much in the news in May but the National have reported on it this week.
Different countries have different systems for their state pension both in terms of how they collect pension contributions and how people are eligible for them. The Commons Briefing reckons that the two countries most similar to UK’s system and therefore the best comparisons are Eire and the Netherlands. Here’s what the weekly pensions on UK, Eire and Netherlands look like, using today’s £/€ exchange rate of 0.91. There are two UK levels of state pensions depending on when you reached pension age before or after 6 April 2016.
2. Raising Pensions Age to 75?
The UK State Pension Age (SPA) is due to rise to 66 next year. But reports appeared in the press this week about a proposal to raise the SPA to 75. (Guardian, Daily Mail ) 75? Can this really be true? It is true that the conservative think-tank Centre for Social Justice, which first proposed Universal Credit and is chaired by Ian Duncan Smith MP, have published a report in which they propose raising the SPA to 70 by 2028 and to 75 by 2038. Here’s their recommendation: