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Alarm at state pension proposals

Pensions concerns: Local MP Mike Weir is concerned about what the Westminster government might have up its sleeve for pension provision. Picture by Jon Savage.

Pensions concerns: Local MP Mike Weir is concerned about what the Westminster government might have up its sleeve for pension provision. Picture by Jon Savage.

Angus MP Mike Weir has branded reports that Westminster is considering privatising the state pension as “alarming”.

The Guardian newspaper has reported seeing documents that show that the UK Government is looking at “alternative delivery models”, with the Department for Work and Pensions looking “more fundamentally” at how it delivers pensions.

Meanwhile, a study published by the International Longevity Centre has found that increasing the state pension age will hit the poorest hardest.

Mr Weir commented: “These plans to privatise our state pension are extremely alarming. The Tories, propped up by their Lib Dem colleagues, are fixated on dismantling the welfare state and are hiding behind austerity as an excuse to push on with their agenda.

“The report from the International Longevity Centre makes it clear that it is the poorest who will be hit the hardest by Westminster’s planned changes to the state pension. “

He continued: “Scotland can afford a high-quality pensions service – spending on pensions and other social benefits has been lower in Scotland than in the UK for each of the past five years.

“But it is only with a Yes that we can ensure our pensions system fits the needs of Scotland.

“The latest Social Attitudes survey showed that a majority of Scots want to see welfare and pensions decided by the Scottish Parliament. Scotland’s Future sets out plans to set up an Independent Commission on the State Pension Age, which will look at the appropriate retirement age, taking into account the fact that lower life expectancy means Scots on average don’t benefit from as many years on the state pension.”

Mr Weir concluded: “Today’s revelations prove that with a No vote there is no certainty on the future of the state pension. Only a Yes vote this September guarantees Scotland can preserve and improve pensions, building a fairer welfare system and closing the gap between rich and poor.”

 

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