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Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has launched a new campaign to maintain the union of the Union by appealing to voters in “Middle Scotland”. Mr Brown said his two-year-old ‘Our Scottish Future’ think tank was being turned into a ‘campaign movement’. He said he would present “the positive, progressive and patriotic case of Scotland in Britain”, and urged people to join him.
The group will advocate for a ‘reformed’ UK, Mr Brown said, and target the 40% of Scots who he says are not strongly committed to the Union or independence.
Mr Brown’s comments follow Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon who led the SNP to a crushing fourth term on an overt promise to hold another independence referendum.
It is no surprise that the former prime minister is stepping into the debate.
Mr Brown played a leading role in the preparation and aftermath of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, campaigning for Scotland to remain in the UK.
For example, in a keynote address in Fife, the former Prime Minister brilliantly highlighted the implications of independence for the rest of the UK.
He argued that England, Wales and Northern Ireland would benefit, as independence would allow them to carve out the lion’s share of the pension fund.
He claimed pensions were the third of Alex Salmond’s “real” problems after former Chancellor George Osborne ruled out a formal pound-sharing deal and former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, said it would have been “difficult, if not impossible” for a separate Scotland to join the EU.
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The Scottish Government’s White Paper on Independence in the 2014 Referendum promised that workers’ pension rights would have been honored and raised the prospect of having a lower retirement age than in the UK.
However, Mr Osborne’s decision to exclude a monetary union raised questions about this commitment, particularly the currency in which the Scottish state pensions would have been calculated and paid.
Launching a campaign to ‘maintain our British pensions’, Mr Brown said:’ They [the separatists] You have not answered the basic problem – you have contributed to your pension, UK Exchequer all your life, you have paid your national insurance, you have paid your taxes to qualify for a pension.
“You expect, rightly, to receive a British pension – but if there is independence, the British pension stops, the national insurance fund to which you contribute is dismantled.
“There will be a separate Scottish national insurance fund, and the rest of the UK will take the lion’s share.”
Mr Brown also argued that the SNP’s estimates of oil revenues – which would have helped fund pensions under independence – contradicted private documents leaked to the media.
He added: “They weren’t expecting to get £ 6.9bn from oil, they only expected to get £ 4bn … far from having all those billions in resources, the SNP exaggerates all the time.
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“This difference of over two million is half the amount spent on everyone’s pensions in Scotland.
“If that money is not there, how will the pensions be paid?”
He said the current system worked by pooling risks and resources across the UK.
He explained: “We pay our national insurance and we pay our taxes so that we can pay our pensions later. We have more needs (in Scotland) and more retirees, so we get more.
“The SNP knows it has a problem … the growing demand for pensions, relative to the money at its disposal, means there is greater volatility in social security spending.”
Gregg McClymont, the former Labor pensions spokesman, also said at the time: ‘Take Scotland out of the UK and the Scots are taken out of the UK pension system.
“The British state pension would cease to exist in Scotland.
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“The security and certainty of the UK pension promise would disappear overnight for Scottish retirees and for the rest of us who pay into the system.”
However, Nicola Sturgeon, then Deputy Prime Minister, refuted: “The last person anyone in Scotland is going to learn about pensions is Gordon Brown – the man who destroyed the pension plans of the United States. last paycheck with his £ 100 billion raid. , and insulted our seniors with a miserable 75 pence increase in the state pension.
“Mr. Brown’s track record means he lacks any credibility on this subject, so it’s no wonder his speech has little to do with reality.”
The Scottish Government’s White Paper of 2014 promised to pay state pensions ‘on time and in full’ after independence, but did not specify how this would be administered or funded.
He also pledged to review the UK government’s decision to raise the retirement age to 67 between 2026 and 2028, saying this may not be necessary due to reduced life expectancy in Scotland .
But the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) released a report saying the document failed to answer a series of key questions about pensions.
Despite SNP claims to the contrary, the institute said funding state pensions in a separate Scotland would have been “more of a challenge” because there would have been fewer taxpayers for each retiree.
In recent years, Ms Sturgeon has not commented on the possibility for Scots to keep their pensions in the event of independence.
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This notice was published: 2021-05-10 20:22:45