Scottish Executive sets pension promise for independence

The state pensions system in an independent Scotland will build upon the current UK system but offer 'better protection to people across the country', a report by the Scottish Executive has said.

The 'Pensions in an Independent Scotland' paper details the arrangements for state, private and public sector pensions that will take place if the country votes 'yes' in next year's referendum on independence.

Key points in the paper confirm that:

  • The county's basic state pension will continue at the current rate of £110.15 per week and be paid 'on time and in full'
  • The basic state pension will be expected to rise to £118.60 in 2016/17
  • The value of the basic state pension will continue to be protected by the triple lock guarantee - keeping it in line with pace of earnings and rising costs - for the first term of an independent parliament
  • A single-tier pension the same as that of the UK will be introduced from 2016 and will be set at £160 per week.

In particular, the paper hinted that the Scottish Government would consider an earlier state pension age for Scotland than the rest of the UK.

"The Scottish Government is not persuaded of the UK Government's timetable to increase SPA to 67 between 2026 and 2028," it said.

Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Scotland is a wealthy and productive country with strong financial foundations. We can more than afford a decent pensions system that guarantees dignity for our older people.

"Successive UK government decisions have resulted in a pensions crisis. Independence will bring decision-making on pensions home to the Scottish Parliament and provide the opportunity to do things differently and better."