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Getting Away Scot-Free?
Pensions Cloud Picture of Scottish Independence

In September, Scotland will vote on becoming independent from the UK, and former British PM Gordon Brown has found a new weapon in the heated debate over the referendum: pensions. In a recent speech, Brown noted that as long as Scotland remains part of the UK , the costs of maintaining its public pensions system are “spread across the UK.” As the FT reports:

The former PM says that as Scottish pensioners numbers rise from one million to 1.3m, the UK will pay the escalating cost of Scottish pensions that will rise from a £425m-a-year extra benefit to a £700m-a-year extra benefit over the next two decades. This is because while Scotland pays 8 per cent of UK national insurance, it receives upwards of 9 per cent of the benefits.

The reason for the higher Scottish payout is that Scotland benefits far more from UK-wide pension credits to top up the basic pension, with £700m a year paid to 248,000 Scots in credits worth £25 per week to the typical recipient.

Pensions are just one more aspect of the economic and political risks Scotland will run by cutting itself off from UK resources. An independent Scotland won’t be able to keep the pound in a currency union with the UK, will face new security risks, and might not gain entry to the EU. Clearly, things would not be as rosy for a post-UK Scotland as the SNP would have its fellow countrymen believe.

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  • Corlyss

    One wonders how much of this kind of analysis is getting thru to voters so gobsmacked with the ancestral dream of freedom from their ancient enemy the English.

    • Andrew Allison

      At no time during the past six years has there been a majority in favor of independence ( The Scots are smarter than you give them credit for [disclosure: I’m the son of one].

      • Corlyss

        I didn’t make any comments regarding either the numbers supporting independence, nor did I make any assertions regarding their intelligence. There are obviously some who support the idea or there wouldn’t be a referendum on the issue.

        • Andrew Allison

          I was simply illustrating that a majority of the population remains ungobsmacked ;<)}
          p.s. I have a new word for you: Obamination.

          • Corlyss

            Thanks, but the word is not new in the lexicon nor is it new to me. It made early appearances in discussions of the likely effects of Obama’s stimulus proposal in Feb 2009.

          • Andrew Allison

            My apologies. Never having seen it before, I thought I’d invented it. At least reprehensatives was new.

  • Curious Mayhem

    Like Quebec and Puerto Rico, there’s no way Scotland can survive as an independent country.

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