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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Westminster Threat to Scots Pensions Shows Why Yes Vote is Essential

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

LABOUR PROPOSING LOWER PENSIONS IN SCOTLAND THAN LONDON

SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP has pointed to Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls’ interview in which he could not rule out including pensions in his new regional welfare cap - which would mean different levels in different parts of the UK and Liam Byrne’s interview where he refused to rule out cuts to pensioners TV licences – as being a real threat to pensioners’ standard of living unless there is a Yes vote in next year’s referendum.

Commenting, the local MP said:

"This has been a dreadful period for Labour as they abandon their long held commitment to the principle of universality, and propose having lower welfare benefits in Scotland and the regions of England than London. Now Ed Balls quite strikingly refuses to rule out including pensions in his new cap proposals - meaning lower pensions in Scotland than London, despite the fact the Scotland more than pays its way in the UK.

"Nothing better illustrates the need for a Yes vote than this threat from Westminster to pensions in Scotland. The reality is that spending on pensions and welfare takes up a lower share of Scotland’s economy than it does across the whole of the UK, which means that they are more affordable for Scotland.

“Already a majority of people in Scotland believe that welfare and pensions policy, and taxation, should be decided by Holyrood not Westminster - and this Labour-Tory alliance on welfare cuts shows why it is essential.

“Labour have now joined with the Tories in supporting cuts and abandoning the principle of universality – it is no surprise that Alistair Darling got a rousing ovation at a Tory conference this weekend. The only way to safeguard the welfare state in Scotland is to vote Yes next September."

YouGov/SNP Poll (Fieldwork: 20th-22nd March 2013)

Which government do you think would be best at deciding welfare and pensions policy for Scotland?

The UK Government: 34%
The Scottish Government: 53%
Don't know: 13%
Sample size: 1105 Scottish adults

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