Pensioners for Independence is a group of Pension age Scots, helping other pensioners, or those approaching pension age, to be informed about Scottish Independence.
By "Scots" we define this as anyone who does us the honour of choosing to live in Scotland, contributing to our society and our national culture.
This should be the aim of any information campaign targeting older Voters, to encourage them to seek direct written answers from government departments, pension providers and other organisation at a personal level. Similarly, we should encourage inviting speakers from government Department and companies to present these facts at public meeting targeting the elderly.
Although there may be reticence on this. A DWP official explaining pension entitlement to a meeting or as has happened, on BBC Good Morning Scotland, is no more controversial than a policemen explaining the law regard riding a bicycle, or parking near a school, to the public and council members at a local Community Council meeting. So these invitations should be sent out.
Our organisation will simply seek to promote and provide resources for these aims in the event of a new Scottish independence referendum. Contact us for information, or to help.
Being a non-profit voluntary organisation allows us to dedicate resources to activities.
Scots Currency ViewAndy Anderson has been vocal on his views on the need and arrangments for a new Scots currency once we attain Independence in the next few years. A good read, link is
Pensioners for Independence held their first national conference on Saturday 25th November 2017 at Broughton High School, north Edinburgh.
National Steering Committee
Following that event a meeting will be held in early March to allow all areas to come together and form a National Steering Committee for Pensioners For Independence.
This formally constituted group will be tasked to develop national level strategies and coordinate across all our local groups to effectively campaign. As yet the exact date and venue have still be be finalised, but given the higher density of members in the central belt, it is likely to be in that area. It may be expected distance area groups will be able to join the board and have equal input into all discussions and strategies. I suggest you apply to join the Pensioners for Independence Google group to get automatic updates on this and other matters. Link HERE
Some of the 100+ delegates registering for the P4I conference morning session.
Deeside St. Andrews eventOn Monday the 27th November we held (in conjunction with Deeside and Upper Donside SNP) , a St. Andrews evening, hosting as speakers, Callum Baird, The National editor, and Paul Kavenagh, (AKA Wee Ginger Dug). A great night was had by all at the sold out event (65+). With local musicians providing the traditional Scottish interlude music. We even raised some funds for our campaigning. Such events are great for getting supporters and likeminded individuals together, and not so much trouble to organise with normaly many willing to lend a hand.
Housing crisis hits pensionersDecember 2017
Housing group, Generation Rent have predicted that by 2035, nearly 1m UK households of retirement age will be renting from a private landlord, nearly 100,000 in Scotland. for the UK currently the figure stands at 370,000.
If those households owned their home, they would have minimal housing costs by the time they retire, but as renters, they will still have rent to pay and most will rely on housing benefit to keep a roof over their heads.
The campaign group estimates that if today's 45-64 year old private renters could access social housing by the time they retire, the taxpayer would save ₤930m per year in housing benefit.
Scottish Widows in a report even suggesting that non-homeowners currently in their 50s should start saving an extra ₤6,000 a year now to be able to afford their rent in retirement. As if people on low incomes are going to find that sort of money. The reason they are renting is that they were never able to find the savings for a deposit on a house in the first place, or didn't earn enough to qualify for a mortgage. and now 300,000 more pensioners in the UK were living in poverty last year compared with 2012-13.
Make no mistake about the dramatic change in the retirement landscape that is coming. Scottish Widows projects that one in eight retirees will be renting by 2032 - treble today's figure. After that it will continue rising. It says there is a UK ₤43bn gap between the income and savings people have now and what the rent bill will be in retirement. That is one-third of the combined NHS Scotland and NHS England budgets for a year - to be squandered on rent.
But rather than tackling any housing crisis for all generations, the Communities and Conservative UK Local Government Secretary, Sajid Javid has blamed it on pensioners - rather than the chronic under-supply of social housing, inflationary house prices, relative low wages and his own government's failure to act.
In Scotland, the Scottish Government has an ambitious plan to provide 30K affordable and social housing homes in this Scottish parliamentary session, far outstripping the UK commitment for England and Wales, and is further committed to expanding the social housing stock.
Norman Jemison, vice president of UK National Pentioners Convention said: There is no real evidence that pensioners are against a major house building programme, so this is just dog-whistle politics which tries to set one age group against another. Rather than blaming people who bought their houses over 30 years ago, Mr Javid needs to start encouraging England and Wales local councils to start building homes again, controlling rents and making it easier for older people to downsize.
British state pension worst in developed worldDecember 2017
A report from the OECD, indicates the British state pension, (approx £150/week) is now the worst in the developed world as it has fallen below Mexico and Chile, data shows.
An average worker entering the UK workforce today can expect to receive less than a third (29 per cent) of their final working salary as a basic pension income after tax, according to a report published every two years by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
This is a reduction of around 40 per cent of what their equivalents who entered the labour market back in 2002 could have expected to receive as a percentage (47.6 per cent) of their final salary. Since the study began the UK has consistently ranked low on the list, ranking below Chile and Mexico last year, however it has never come last before.
The reason for the UK falling to the bottom of the league table is down to the earnings-related element of the state pension being removed along with the introduction of the new flat-rate pension, the OECD said.
It means UK retirees who fail to make their own pension provision face a steep income drop when they retire compared with other OECD countries.
By contrast the average worker across the OECD can expect 63 per cent of their salary as a state funded pension.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Working people in Britain face the biggest retirement cliff edge of any developed nation. We are letting down today's workers if we can't provide them with a decent retirement income."
The OECD said that like other countries, the UK is "ageing quickly" and the number of people aged 65 and over for every 100 people of working age will rise from about 30 today to 48 in 2050.
It said: "Already today, poverty among older people is high in the United Kingdom: among those aged 75 and over 18.5 per cent have incomes below the poverty line, most of them women. The main reason is the low level of the state pension."
International Benchmarks of EU Maximum State Pensions as a Percentage of Local Average Wage
The new simplified state pension should improve matters, but there is a long transition period, the report said. While those who are able to save, buy their own home and put money in private pensions may have relatively good incomes, retirees without these types of revenue "are left with few resources," it said.
The report also suggested that the pension freedoms and the rigidity of the state pension, which cannot be accessed until people reach a certain age, could increase inequality in the UK. It said recent changes enabling older people to withdraw chunks of cash from their retirement pots could lead to further inequality "as not all will be able to finance retiring earlier".
The OECD also warned that some people using the pension freedoms may be inclined to spend their lump sums early or underestimate their life expectancy, leaving them with limited resources at a very old age.
In July, it was announced that the the state pension age in the UK will rise from 67 to 68 between 2037 and 2039, seven years earlier than previously planned.
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Giving everyone the support they need to get on, while protecting the most vulnerable in society and tackling poverty, is crucial to delivering a fairer society.
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