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UK State pension : and Independence

Central to Scotland as a thriving European country is a decent retirement for all. Every State should aspire to deliver an affordable, fair and efficient pensions system, one that rewards hard work and incentivises saving, while also tackling pensioner poverty.

Possible poor stewardship has characterised the UK Government's management of the State and Private pension systems over many years.

Your UK State Pension is decided by your National Insurance contributions, irrespective of your nationality, or the eventual choice of retirement destination. Anyone who has the required amount of UK pension contributions, and reaches retirement age, is entitled to the UK state pension. This is the responsibility of the UK Government, to whom you have paid your contributions. No matter where you choose to live, original or other multiple nationalities you may hold, this is a historical right, and no recent or future constitutional changes will effects your UK State pension entitlement.

In financial terms, Scotland is already a highly successful country: GDP per head in Scotland was estimated to be the 8th highest in the OECD. Furthermore, the amount spent in Scotland on social protection, which includes pensions and other welfare spending, is lower as a share of GDP than in the UK average.

Much of any pension infrastructure needed in Scotland, for managing our own pensions, is already in place in Scotland, through the Scottish Public Pensions Agency and the local authority teams that manage public sector pensions. The Pension Centres located in Motherwell and Dundee, currently part of the Department for Work and Pensions, are already administering State ii Pension and Pension Credit claims for everyone living in Scotland. These resources do support the delivery of pensions in Scotland.

Scotland also has a track record in delivering real benefits to older people; exemplified by free personal and nursing care and concessionary travel. Scottish Governments have made a positive commitment to retain these.

The pensions system that will be built on these firm foundations in an independent Scotland was set out clearly during the 2014 Independence debate which gave full detail on how it would function in practice, what it will deliver to those of retirement age, and how it would support hard working people across Scotland to save for the future.

The main aim of this paper was to provide clarity and reassurance for existing pensioners, people of working age, employers and the pensions industry. With this in mind exist key principles of structuring the view for a Scottish Pensions System under independence.

With independence, Scotland will keep the best of the existing State Pensions system, making genuine improvements where necessary . This means that the State Pension will continue as now, and any planned UK reforms will be rolled out. All pensions will continue to be paid as now and all accrued rights will be honoured and protected from the UK department of Works and Pensions, who will continue to hold the liability.

From the day of independence all taxes and NI contributions will be made to the Scottish tax and pension systems, which from that point only, any Scottish Government will have liabilities based on those contributions.

Independence will provide strong protection for individuals' private pension savings via an effective regulatory system. Alongside that, the full powers of independence will be harnessed to help people to save for their retirement over the course of their working lives.

Independence will deliver a public service pensions system that is affordable, sustainable and fair one that works for public sector employees, public service provision, the tax-payer, and the overall public finances. Independence will enable a positive and inclusive approach to negotiating public sector workers' pension arrangements.

In any future Independence referendum, the people of Scotland will have the opportunity to choose a better pensions system; one that will be affordable and fair, secure and efficient, one that will protect the most vulnerable and tackle pensioner poverty. Crucially, Scots will have the chance, for the first time, to decide who manages their pensions system; a choice between a pension crisis brought about by successive UK Governments and the competence demonstrated by the Scottish Government.