Public Service Pensions Bill

Many of my constituents have contacted me about the Public Service Pensions Bill being considered at Westminster. This will require the Scottish Parliament to bring public sector pension schemes into line with those in England and Wales, even where this does not reflect Scottish circumstances. To quote a letter: this is “unwarranted interference by the Treasury in Scottish provisions”.

Public sector workers who have responsibly paid over the years into a pension have had their confidence undermined. They want the Scottish Parliament to have regulatory powers so a remote Westminster Treasury cannot “narrowly prescribe the scope of those negotiations or change the rules at will.”

The primary pension legislation, frustratingly, is indeed a reserved issue. In this, and in far too many issues important to Scotland, the Westminster Government still holds all the real powers. While Scottish Finance Secretary, John Swinney, does his utmost to squeeze the best deals from Westminster funding, there are always strings attached, which he must carefully consider.

Our condition in Scotland is to have all major economic and other policy issues foisted upon us by Westminster governments of all parties, which might not suit our wishes and aspirations. This will continue until Scotland achieves national independence and proper control over all of our resources and their uses, just like any other small but potentially prosperous northern European nation.

The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.

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