Nicola Sturgeon accused of ‘cheating’ Scots over state independence pension claim


The Conservative pensions minister has rejected claims that the UK will continue to fund Scottish state pensions in the event of independence.

Guy Opperman called statements by Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford “misleading”.

The row was sparked by claims by Blackford who said the UK would have an “obligation” to fund state pension payments after independence.

His comments concerned National Insurance contributions already paid by Scottish workers.

Sturgeon backed Blackford: “When Scotland votes for independence, as it did in 2014, the distribution of existing UK liabilities and assets, including those relating to pensions, will be subject to negotiation, and the Scotland will pay its full share. ”

She also quoted former UK government pensions minister Steve Webb, who said in 2014 that those with accrued rights would continue to receive current levels of state pensions in an independent Scotland.

Webb then clarified his remarks and current Pensions Minister Opperman denounced the Scottish Government.

“If Scotland chooses to become a foreign country, working English, Welsh and Northern Irish taxpayers should not pay the pension obligations of a foreign country. This has been the position of the British government since before the 2014 referendum,” he told the Mail on Sunday.

He added: “Nicola Sturgeon and Ian Blackford are, once again, deceptive Scots.”

An SNP spokesman was quoted in the Mail on Sunday: “The UK government said in 2014 that after independence people would still be entitled to the pension contributions they had paid into the UK system.

“However, independence will also give us the opportunity to provide significantly better pensions than are currently available, given that the UK has a public pension that lags behind many other developed countries.”

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