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‘Economics of fantasy’: Labour attacks SNP over state pension plans

Labour warns SNP plans to hand Scotland power over setting the state pension age north of the border risks destabilising the system.

The state pension age currently stands at 65 and applies across the UK. Under plans outlined by the Coalition Government this will rise to 66 between 2018 and 2020, before eventually hitting 67 in 2028.

Future increases will be linked to life expectancy and based on the principle that people should be able to spend about one-third of their adult life in retirement.

The SNP, which is expected to win huge numbers of seats north of the border following a collapse in support for Labour, is pushing for Scotland to be handed greater autonomy over setting its state pension age.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon says: “The Tory-Lib Dem Government’s plan to further increase the state pension age is a worry to people across the UK who are planning for their future, but the failure to take Scotland’s specific circumstances into account is particularly unfair.

“Our comparatively low life-expectancy rate is an issue which I will do everything in my power to change, but in the meantime it would be completely unacceptable for people in Scotland who have paid in to a state pension all of their lives to lose out.”

However, Labour shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont says: “This is the economics of fantasy – the SNP are trying to have their cake and eat it.

“The state pension is simply a guaranteed payment. Guarantees are only as strong as the institution backing it and that means small nations are more exposed to financial headwinds.

“Once again the SNP’s sums just don’t add up. Ultimately fiscal autonomy will create a more volatile pensions system.”

According to the Office for National Statistics, average life expectancy in the UK as a whole between 2010 and 2012 was 78.9 years for men and 82.7 years for women. In Scotland, however, the figure was just 76.6 years for men and 80.8 years for women.

In December 2013, Labour peers urged the Government to consider varying the state pension age based on the types of job people have held and where they live.

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Comments

There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Maybe the Scots should be introduced the the vegetable and informed that smoking is a choice and not mandatory!

    Oh, was that a bit of type-casting….well so is the reference to a lower age expectancy for the Scots. What do we do Nicola, have different retirement ages throughout the UK based on postcodes?

  2. The SNP can have any retirement age they want as long as they raise it from taxation in Scotland—don’t expect the rest of the UK to subsidize Scottish bribes devised by a bunch of political chancers.

  3. Better if they spent the extra money they have per head on increasing life expectancy then, rather than fueling benefits which encourage the ‘wrong’ sort of life style choices and which create early death rates and wasting money on free university education prescriptions and eye tests for all including the wealthy. After all, the SNP have been in charge of budgets for most expenditure for how many years now?

    It is an embarrassing admission of their failings. There is no excuse for it at all.

  4. HH – we were introduced to the Englishman long ago. Just saying……

  5. Apart from what I said below the other article – that the disparity is due to lifestyle choices, and we don’t give early pensions for those – the SNP’s logic also misses that since the Scots die earlier, they pay less in NI and tax. True, the average Scottish life expectancy is beyond the retirement age, but that is an *average*. There will be more Scots dying at 50, 40 and even 30 from cancer, diabetes, overdoses and the like, and consequently not paying a full record of contributions. There’s no unfairness.

  6. Deep fried Mars bar anyone?

  7. The SNP have had the opportunity and power to raise income tax since being in power in Scotland yet haven’t been brave enough to do so – much easier to leave things as they are and just whine about the unfairness of Westminster.

  8. Jabba The Hutt 7th April 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I do hope that the next 5 weeks do not turn my mild irritation to an intense dislike. If so I think I might start a campaign for English independence. If they can choose either way then why can’t we?

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