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Robison: No-vote will cut £10,000 from the average pension

Pensioners will be worse off if Scotland opts to stay in the union because of Westminster's plans to increase the state pension age, Pensioners' Rights Secretary Shona Robison has said.

Scottish Government research shows that because of lower life expectancy, people in Scotland with identical state pension entitlement to the rest of the UK would receive "substantially less" over a lifetime, Ms Robison said.

She pledged to "ensure support for pensioners is a priority for this Government", and warned they would lose out if Scotland rejects independence in September.

"There is a pensions pay gap for the vast majority of pensioners in Scotland," she said.

"For future pensioners in Scotland, a No vote in the independence referendum will cost an average of £10,000 as people have to work longer and longer.

"The simple message for pensioners of the future is, if you vote No, you will be worse off."

The UK Government has proposed to increase the state pension age to 67 from 2026.

Speaking during a debate at Holyrood, Ms Robison added: "In Scotland's Future, we have committed to establishing an independent commission to consider the appropriate rate of increase in the state pension age.

"The commission will consider fairness, life expectancy, affordability and equality issues in the round, and reach a decision that genuinely suits Scotland's circumstances."

Labour's Neil Findlay said Ms Robison had given another speech on independence instead of focusing on issues such as health, social care and life expectancy.

"Scotland faces a serious demographic challenge with the number of over-75s set to double in the next 25 years," he said.

"As people live longer we will see demands on our services, particularly health and social care, rise.

"What pensioners need is a health and social care system fit for purpose and fit to meet the demands of the 21st century.

"Why won't the Scottish Government rid itself of its complacency and do likewise to what Labour has called for - a Beveridge-style review of our health and social care services?

"Pretending everything is okay just won't cut it."

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Local government

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