A bit late, but better late than never .
OK, lets just be clear from the outset. Your pension is safe if you vote YES. How do I know this and how can I say this with utter confidence? Because of the following :
Steve Webb (The UK Pensions Minister) has confirmed that our pensioners would still receive their current state pension. When pushed on the matter for further clarity by Labour MP, Ian Davidson, Webb responded with : "They have accumulated rights into the UK system under the UK rules to a pension, at the age we would have paid it to them - not at which the Scottish Government would"
The DWP have given written confirmation that iScotland "will have no effect on your State Pension. You will continue to receive it just as you do at present."
The pension is guaranteed / protected by a triple lock system. ( explained by John Swinney SNP MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, as : "new single-tier flat rate state pension will be uprated by whatever is higher – earnings growth, inflation or 2.5 per cent".)
The Scottish Government plans to retain the current savings credits for our pensioners (Pension Credit comes in 2 parts and you may be eligible for one or both: Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level. Savings Credit is extra money if you've got some savings or your income is higher than the basic State Pension - info from www.ageuk.org.uk ).
The offices in Dundee and Motherwell, who currently administer the State Pensions, will continue to do as after indy.
There will be no change to pensions for private pensions, in an iScotland. This is because the matter is a financial arrangement between the individual and their pension provider. However, the Scottish Government has given assurances that all pensions will be protected.
The Scottish Government is reviewing the proposal for extending the age of retirement (the proposal in the UK is extended from 65 to 66 years of age by 2020, then to 67years of age by 2028). As a nation, we generally have a shorter life expectancy (how cheery), than rUK, so the extended retiral age is deemed unreasonable.
The alternative with a No vote?
The triple lock in Westminster is currently only guaranteed until 2015.
If you are already in receipt of your State Pension and associated credits thats ticketyboo for you, but any new pensioners from 2016 are less lucky, as Westminster is intending on abolishing the Savings Credit.
Do you trust Westminster, where Gordon Brown scrapped the tax relief on pension firms' dividends? This was the death knell of the final salary pensions that once saw our older citizens enjoy their golden years, in a comfortable position, having worked hard through their lives. In monetary terms, the bold GB essentially raided the State Pension fund to the tune of £118bn (figure taken from 1997-2014, and info from The Daily Mail. Whilst the DM is not exactly my source of choice, The Telegraph reported estimated figures of £100-150bn).
How do you fancy retiring at 67years of age or older? An article in the Telegraph reported :
" The move towards [retiral age of] 68 and 69 will be accelerated, the Chancellor announced in the Autumn Statement in December 2013. The latest predictions, put together for The Telegraph by pensions consultants Towers Watson, suggest those aged 47 and under will be affected.
Plugging life expectancy data into a government formula unveiled in December 2013, the pension age will move to 68 between 2034 and 2036, affecting those born in 1966. A move to 69 would occu between 2047 and 2049."
Now that means that potentially, I would have to wait until I am 69 before I can retire. All being well in my own health and the needs of my family, I would like to keep working for as long as I choose (past the current pensionable age of 65), but I seriously doubt that I will want to be working as a septuagenarian, when I should be (hope to be) enjoying my senior years.
This one has to be an easy Yes.