Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank

Indyref pensions debate “like arguing over which flag to fly on the Titanic” says think tank

Reform Scotland says that neither pro-UK or pro-independence movements are prepared to face facts on pensions

The independent think tank Reform Scotland, which earlier this year produced a comprehensive report calling for the replacement of the state and public sector pension schemes with a Universal Contributory Pension (UCP), has criticised both sides of the independence referendum campaign for their stances on pensions.

Both sides are campaigning on pensions today, particularly on state pensions, but neither has given any indication that they are prepared to address the real issues which we face as a result of our uncertain, unfunded and unsustainable state and public sector pensions systems.

Commenting, Ben Thomson, Reform Scotland’s Chairman and author of The Pensions Guarantee, said:

“The reality is that, whether we are part of the UK or part of an independent Scotland, our state pension and defined benefit public sector pensions schemes are unsustainable and unaffordable.

“We are expecting a proportionally smaller working population to pay proportionally more towards the pensions of a proportionally larger retired population. It simply does not add up in Scotland or the UK, and the debate today is as useful as a debate about which flag to fly over the Titanic.

“Politicians of all parties and constitutional positions have put pensions in the ‘too difficult’ box. It must be taken out.

“Grasping the nettle and advocating a fully-funded, mandatory contributory scheme such as Reform Scotland’s UCP is difficult, but it is right and as Australia has demonstrated in its contributory scheme set up over 20 years ago it is the practical way to find a long term solution to this problem.”