Monday, 27 February 2012
Pensions In An Independent Scotland
Last week my blogger friend, Anna Raccoon, dared to post about British Pensioners and the Scottish Referendum.
More daringly she described the land north of Aberdeen as 'frozen waste'. How dare she! The picture is of a village on the Moray coast and, I'm reliably informed, the ground there has not experienced anything other than a very light frost this winter. Produce was harvested easily - a task which has required great effort in the past four winters.
The Moray coast is one of my favourite pieces of coastline in the UK and the weather seldom disappoints. Visitors don't expect continental temperatures yet they return again and again.
Now to her comments regarding 'immigrants or foreign nationals' pensions. By this she appears to mean English people who live in Scotland.
Many English people to come to live here (in this part of Scotland) are retired or here because they wish to be near family. Those who are retired say the excellence of the Scottish NHS was one of the main reasons they decided to move - a point not raised by her commenters.
I cannot see a Scottish government refusing to pay 'foreign nationals' a form of Winter Fuel Payment if they meet the necessary qualifications. That would be against most Scots' inherent feeling of social justice.
Anna's argument raises one point which has concerned me for many years. I have a brother who has only lived in the UK for a couple of years since he was 16. He has lived in Canada now for 40 years and has dual nationality which allows him to claim his state pension from the UK as well as his Canadian pension. Surely it can't be right that someone who has contributed little or nothing to the UK is able to claim their pension 'rights'?
When Scotland gains independence will 'foreign nationals' be allowed dual nationality and thus claim a state pension from both Scotland and whatever England, Wales and N Ireland decide to call themselves?
Will an independent Scotland right that wrong or will the EU have the final say?