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Should Scots be handed state pension autonomy?

The Scottish National Party will use its power in the next parliament to oppose any further increases in the state pension age, The Times reports.

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.”

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. 


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There are 26 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. This is just another thing that SNP are saying they will do to encourage another vote on Independence

  2. We are either in this together or we are separate, to be able to pick and choose which bit of the UK rules apply to which area is a nightmare and unfair to the greater majority of people. Who will it apply to? all scots whether within or without Scotland? All those who reside in Scotland regardless of nationality? Will you have to pay it back if you move down south in between ages?

  3. @Robin

    Excellent points all. The SNP have no incentive to be reasonable, riling “the English” for both Scottish Labour and the SNP is a pretty obvious strategy. Scottish Labour as it will drive more wavering voters into the arms of UKIP and the SNP because it will further poison relations between Scotland and England.

  4. …………so someone living in East Dunbartonshire, who’s life expectancy is higher than the UK average, will benefit? Scotland will leave the UK – its just a question of how quickly the SNP achieve their goal (whether that be by appealing to the Scots or hindering the rest of the UK).

  5. Robin, if you say the case is we are all in it together then why do people in London get London allowance? We all pay the same tax on a pint of milk or petrol, how is it fair that Londoners have held this advantage for years? This has caused ever increasing disparity not only within London but North England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all received far less public spending and investment. Proportionate taxation could be an option as the average UK income is NOT earned by the majority of persons living in Scotland and the SNP are arguing for fairness, extracted by fact based the law of large numbers. The independence referendum question was asked and put to bed, shame the same can’t be said of Europe.

  6. Rt Hon Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling 7th April 2015 at 11:27 am

    As Dr Johnson said: ‘the Scots should be glad of anything they get from the English; short of hanging’.

  7. “Our comparatively low life-expectancy rate is an issue……..”

    2 years! Low life expectancy = 76.6/ 80.8….

    It has still got to be paid for so how on earth can this cover “people should be able to spend about one-third of their adult life in retirement.”

    If that is to be based on current rates that means state pension age at 50 which puts Scotland on course to be the next Greece!

  8. @ Steven Balmer, what is London Allowance? I have lived and worked in London all my life but it seems that there is some kind of handout that I have missed out on.

    On earlier pensions for Scotland dwellers, modern science could take this idea to the logical conclusion that all people should have a thorough medical assessment and then have an individually calculated age for starting their pension ascribed to them, to follow the so-called principle of expecting their retirement to last one third of their life. This would replace the existing ‘principle’ that we all retire at the same age and that we all are then provided for, for as long as our individual needs last.

  9. As the referendum approached I definitely didn’t want the UK to break up. Now we are faced with the potential of a much worse situation developing where the SNP could hold the balance of power throughout the UK. This, in my opinion, would be a disaster for the UK. The SNP do not give a dam about anyone south of the border (quite rightly really) and will continue to push for separation of Scotland from the rest of the UK. Faced with the current potential situation I would much prefer that they had went their own way.

  10. Nicola Sturgeon (aka Alex Salmond) will not be happy until she and her party have driven an unrepairable wedge between England and Scotland – how can people not see this? On top of that, Salmond wants to be a member of the Parliament he, only a few months ago, wanted to leave behind and was vehement in his arguments to do so – Sturgeon is exactly the same and heaven forbid that the SNP hold the balance of power after the election – this beggars belief.
    The point is, how will Scotland afford to make these MASSIVE financial decisions for themselves – there is no credible explanation as to affordability.
    Never mind, there’s always anothe can of Special Brew round the corner eh?

  11. @ Nick Wardle

    There is nothing that obliges Scottish voters to vote SNP in May. It is a test of Scottish character.

  12. @ Stephen Balmer – London allowance was created for those national wage workers (police, nhs, teachers etc to compensate for the higher living costs in the London area but whose wages were dictated by national agreements (employers and unions together) that were not based on regional outcomes. Therefore a worker in a region with low housing costs is materially better off that a worker in an area of higher housing cost. There are always winners and losers and that is what living in a society means, not just grasping everything you can get. Remember one persons free university is another persons tax bill. Salmond and Sturgeon (aka Salmond) will beggar Scotland for their own ego.

  13. If the Scots want to retire someone early I would be more than happy to support them, as long as it’s only Alex Salmond, then perhaps we would see if the SNP had any other voices.

  14. correlationstreet 7th April 2015 at 12:31 pm

    The question of separation between England & Scotland should have been put to the English & Scottish people as it affects both nations in different ways. I suspect the independence issue would have been resolved in their favour had that happened and Alec Salmond would now be busy re-calculating his finances as a result of his North Sea asset having tumbled unexpectedly in value. The SNP will become a veritable pain in the derriere because Nicola Sturgeon has a personality that is absent from our dull career politicians however much that rankles. Can we not just give Scotland independence, take in a few refugees who want unity and have done with them. At least Andy Murray would know who he plays tennis for then

  15. If Scotland’s lower life expectancy was due to genetics or to something in the air then I would have sympathy. As it is almost entirely attributable to lifestyle choices then there’s no unfairness whatsoever. You don’t get to take your State Pension early if you smoke or are obese, you accept that one of the consequences of your choice is that you won’t benefit as much from the State Pension. Same applies on a national scale.

  16. They couldn’t get Scottish voters to agree to leaving the UK so they are no hoping that English voters do the job for them and have a referendum to get rid of Scotland.

  17. We need a comprehensive constitutional settlement to enshrine the limitations and obligations of the UK and constituent countries. Nothing should be changed until then. No more politics with pensions.

  18. Maybe the Scots should be introduced to 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?

  19. Why is it necessary to have central politics run from London anyway? Let me spell something out, I do not see how an Eton tax dodging toff could relate to the social and economic frustrations of living in the West of Scotland, or North of England for that matter. It does not matter what party the puppeteer is from when it is clearly not democracy. If it still took three days on horseback to spread a message then OK but it does not. I expect in coming generations many companies will move to central England to take advantage of lower rents etc although this could be anywhere in the UK. As far as Salmond heightening a divide, this forum goes to show you don not have to scratch very deep to see there are still many prejudices at play in and out of Londonium. You try a lifetime without proper representation and consider how supportive you would be after all the cock ups your governments have made.

  20. @Stephen

    We appear to have slipped beyond the bounds of constructive debate. Pity. One day you might discover that ad hominems does not a coherent argument make.

  21. Call a spade... 7th April 2015 at 5:20 pm

    @ Stephen Balmer
    “A lifetime without proper representation” smacks of SNP rhetoric – it simply isn’t true that Scotland has never got the party it voted for. Mind you, if Scotland votes en masse for the SNP, then they obviously won’t get the party they vote for at Westminster, so this would seem to be self-defeating for the SNP! And remind me who brought down the Callaghan government and let Thatcher in? Oh yes, the SNP…..

    Meanwhile, if only the referendum question had been put to bed, as you say – I think it’s still very much on the SNP agenda. As far as they are concerned, it won’t be settled until it’s settled the way they want it.

  22. Nicola Sturgeon wants to be noticed, a few controversial comments and a makeover – job done.

  23. Not wishing to be too controversial – the Scots should have Control over the Pension age – as should Necassle and the Isle of Wight. Perhaps instead of The Cheviots and Hadrian’s Wall they could dig out the Ditch and make it a Moat which runs alongside and build a canal – as they have now empowered the reinstatement of the Railways back into Galashiels University ( Heriot Watt etc., ) – and Melrose – where under Scottish Control – they have created FREEDOM in the Borders – after Doctor Beechings AXE. No unnecessary HS2 rail links, No strategic Rail Operation in situ for St Albans destroying Green Belt Land by Eric Pickles and Anne Main MP. Real Freedom creates Real opportunities – and Melrose where the heart of Sir Robert the Bruce is buried, gives access to many more Tourists and Trade – and the Borders Regions are booming again. In the Borders we will celebrate Waterloo – not one of our battles but once again we were THERE ! Where we will join in and we will celebrate the victory . Freedom comes in many shades – and for a Government who permits their constituents – an economy – where people can trade and invest ( in people an business ) – willput the Great back into Britain. Unfortiunately this rag tail Government can only put the grate . . .by annoying people removing their opportunities to work removing their opportunities for education removing their opportunities to use the NHS – UNDER THE CHAOS OF CAMERON . . . . Next . . . .

  24. Sam, I have not attacked anyone’s character and simply dismissing an alternative opinion is hardly constructive either, you have added nothing of value to the debate. @callaspade – I believe Thatcher done some great work in her early control and only slipped in later years when her ego got the better of her common sense. Poll tax was a disaster, bedroom tax with the benefit of hindsight was just stupidity.
    As a Scot, I think some good points have been made with regards to lifestyle choices reducing life expectancy but poverty is also a massive factor. There is a lack of welfare justice across many demographics in the UK and I believe the SNP are simply highlighting this fact.

  25. In my opinion the Scottsih National Party, and the Welsh National Party, are selfish. They only want what is best for their own respective countries not for the UK. They should be denied any part of controlling the State Pension which we all pay for. The Scottish people voted to remain in the UK and the SNP can’t seem to accept that.

  26. @ Derek Vivian
    On the selfishness of national parties such as the SNP, it is interesting to compare the UK with the EU and the USA.
    In the EU, parties are elected on the basis of national selfishness whereas in the USA, voters can and do use the complicated constitutional arrangements to elect parties that both manage individual states and also transcend state boundaries to run the whole of the USA. In the European Parliament there are groupings of parties but voters cannot vote for a grouping, only for a party.

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