Referendum Answers

Short Answers to Popular Questions about Scottish Independence


Q. What will happen to my pension after independence?

A. The UK government will continue to pay it.

Let's cut to the chase right away. The UK goverment has explicity GUARANTEED that your pension will continue to be paid even if Scotland becomes independent. Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, has said: "Citizenship is irrelevant. It is what you have put into the UK National Insurance system prior to separation that builds up to a continued UK pension... but they [ie you] are entitled to that money."

And what about future pensions in an independent Scotland? Right now in the UK, spending on 'social protection' (pensions, benefits etc) takes 42% of all the cash raised, whereas in Scotland, it's 38%. So we'd be starting from a point where our spending on pensions and benefits is 4% less than in the UK.

Now take into account that although we contribute 9.9% of the UK's total cash, we only get 9.3% of our own cash back, a massive £4.4 billion annual shortfall. So not only is our social protection bill lower than it is in the UK, with independence we'd have £4.4 billion pounds more in our economy. So don't let anyone tell you Scotland couldn't afford her pensions and benefits bill - we can.

And if you'd like some detail, take a look at a document called Pensions in an Independent Scotland. It explains how pensions will be paid and protected in an independent Scotland, and compares these proposals with current UK arrangements. At 135 pages it's a detailed document, but if you just want a summary then the Annex is definitely worth a read.



The Scottish Government: Pensions in an Independent Scotland (Annex A)

The Scottish Government: Pensions in an Independent Scotland (full document)

The UK Government: Letter confirming pensions will continue to be paid if Scotland becomes independent

Further Reading

The Science of Independence: Pensions

Yes Scotland: Pensions Q & A (A good overview of pensions after independence)

Newsnet Scotland: Benefits

Business for Scotland: Improving Scotland’s pension system