Affordability of Scottish state pensions questioned

Scotland's ability to cover state pension payments has been called into question by a leaked Government report on their economic case for separation.

According to the document leaked to the BBC, volatile oil prices and the rising costs associated with an ageing population 'creates considerable uncertainty' for Scotland's projected fiscal position.

The draft report by Scottish finance minister John Swinney has called into question the affordability of state pensions in the country.

It comes as the Scottish Government is expected to publish its welfare and pension plans in the next few months in the event of a 'yes' vote to independence in the 2014 referendum.

First minister Alex Salmond denied the contents of the leaked document after questions at the Scottish Parliament from Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont.

She said: "John Swinney [the Scottish finance secretary] is being warned of the economic damage leaving the UK would do to Scotland by his own officials and yet denies the truth."

"They are telling him of an even deeper public spending crisis coming after the referendum. They are telling him of the problem of an ageing population."

She added: "For pensioners these papers are particularly worrying. The advice given to Mr Swinney questions whether a separate Scotland could afford the state pension."