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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Westminster Threat to Scots Pensions Shows Yes Vote Essential

Sunday, 9 June 2013

LABOUR PROPOSING LOWER PENSIONS IN SCOTLAND THAN LONDON

Commenting on Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls’ interview on the BBC Sunday Politics programme 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 Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, SNP Works and Pensions spokesperson at Westminster, 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."

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