Scottish Independence and possible impact on Pensioners

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2013 National Retired Members Conference
3 June 2013

This Conference notes the referendum on Independence for Scotland will be held on 18 September 2014 and if carried it is likely Independence will be gained in 2016 – less than 3 years from now to totally separate the existing integrated financial systems and set up new systems for both Scotland and England/Wales/Northern Ireland. Even in the event of a “no” vote, it is fully anticipated that further powers will be devolved.

Many services used by pensioners e.g. Concessionary Bus Schemes, Health Services, Local Authority provided Services etc. are already devolved and therefore negotiated Regionally. However, the main “benefit” pensioners receive is the State Pension which is a reserved power. Many pensioners who have an Occupational Pension pay income tax which presently attracts age related allowances which is not devolved. Other “benefits” such as free TV licences for the over 75 are not devolved.

The 2012 National Delegate Conference (NDC) agreed support and resources for campaigning and bargaining to safeguard the position of employed Members in the devolved nations and recognised a “yes” vote in the referendum will affect UNISON Members wherever they live.

This Conference welcomes that decision of the NDC. However, emphasis has naturally been given to the needs and aspirations of employed Members. This we fully appreciate, but it is also necessary to ensure UNISON at all levels protects the interests of retired members, particularly as those members are often the most vulnerable and least likely to seek help.

In order to keep the interests of retired members to the fore, this Conference instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to ask the National Executive Council to

a)recognise the needs and aspirations of retired members,

b)protect and defend retired members’ interests in negotiations in the event of either increased devolved powers or full independence in the event of a “yes” vote in Scotland.