Scotland decides 2014: Taxes and pensions

Less than two weeks to go until the referendum
Less than two weeks to go until the referendum

With just two weeks to go until Scotland decides whether to become an independent country or not we look at another of the hot topics.

The future of our taxes and pensions have been widely discussed in the independence debate, with the Yes campaign arguing that they will be better served in an independent Scotland while the Better Together group is adamant that they are safer within the United Kingdom.

Midlothian Councillor Alex Bennett (Lab) and MSP Colin Beattie (SNP) have their say.

Colin Beattie believes nothing would change. He said: “Pensions are one of the big issues in the independence campaign but also, arguably the least contentious issue in this referendum campaign.

“Under independence the Scottish Government will continue to pay all current state pensions in line with the arrangements currently. From April 2016, a new single-tier pension will be introduced for new pensioners which will pay out £160 per week. Both current arrangements and future pensions will be topped up by a triple-lock which ensures that your pension rises with either average earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest at the time of assessment. So no matter what, your pension is protected.”

Alex Bennett warns that uncertainty over what currency an independent Scotland would have has left him with concerns regarding the future of our pensions and taxes if we vote Yes in the independence referendum on September 18.

He said: “There are many questions about the future of many different types of pension that are not being highlighted in the debate because the independence campaign simply does not have an answer as to how a separate Scotland would maintain these commitments. If the current guidelines that exist in the UK continue in the event of a Yes vote then pensions would be paid as they are at present to Scots living abroad with regulations varying from country to country. The rules regarding other benefits – such as industrial injuries benefit or DLA are also too complicated and varied to even begin to sum up.”

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