At last, something of actual substance. The SNP have said that they will lower the age for pensions in the event of Scotland becoming independent.
Now, this doesn’t affect me personally, since I imagine the retirement age could change a dozen times before I’m ready to claim my pension, and it also doesn’t affect anyone close to me, so do excuse me if I get a little passionless and abstract. As far as I can see, this is a perfectly reasonable policy. Scotland does have a lower life expectancy than the UK average (low enough that a pension is an unrealistic ambition), which stands to reason that it could use a different pension scheme.
The usual question is whether Scotland can afford this. Most people turning reaching retirement age are part of the post-war baby boom, where birthrates were nearly double what they are now. This trend only starts slowing down around the 70s and only reaches current levels around the 80s. Scotland will be facing a lot of people needing pensions in the next few decades. I do also like the BBC’s article’s little quasi-footnote “Opposition parties questioned how Scotland would pay for pensions.” Of course they did. That was probably added before the writer even had a quote. That’s all the opposition parties do.
From a completely self interested perspective, I do find Westminster’s plan to increase the pension age rather daunting, since it will result in a more crowded labour market. Of course, here’s hoping that even an unemployable dope like me will be able to start a career by 2018.
In all honesty, whilst I think this is a good policy, it’s not something that justifies Scottish independence alone. However, being that the rationale behind this would work on Wales, Northern Ireland and England, it makes a good argument for more devolved powers.