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GB News presenter Andrew Neil silenced Scottish nationalists when he rubbished their “untrue” claims over who would pay for state pensions in an independent Scotland earlier this month. The prominent pro-Unionist criticised a reader’s letter, which said Westminster would “breach” international law if it failed to continue paying people’s state pensions in case of Scottish independence. Mr Neil responded to a picture of the comment on Twitter and instantly silenced the nationalists who claimed the suggestion was just Project Fear.
He wrote: “So if England was to leave the UK, would Scotland, Wales and NI continue to pay English pensions?”
The issue over pensions in case of independence has been debated for decades.
The Scottish Government’s White Paper in 2014 promised to pay state pensions “on time and in full” after independence, but did not stipulate how this would be administered or funded.
It also pledged to review the UK Government’s decision to increase the state retirement age to 67 between 2026 and 2028, stating this may not be necessary thanks to lower life expectancy in Scotland.
But the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) published a report stating the document had failed to answer a series of key questions about pensions.
In the last few years, Ms Sturgeon has not made any comments on whether Scots will be able to retain their pensions in case of independence.
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Economics Professor at Edinburgh Napier University Piotr Jaworski revealed just how difficult it will be to sort out pensions after independence.
He said: “Pensions are a very complicated issue because they are not about the future but about the current times.
“You cannot save for your pension from an economic point of view.
“The question right now is how much of the Scottish pensions is subsidised from the general pot of England.
“I don’t know how much the British spend in Scotland and how much is produced in Scotland…
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“If we go for our own system, are we going to decrease the pensions or top it up?
“But if we top it up, it means decreasing the consumption of those who are working.”
He added: “Governments have very short perspectives…
“The Scottish Government has an extremely short perspective.
“They usually don’t see the big picture.
“It happens all the time. Great ideas, leave the union, stay in the union, without any anchoring in the real economic data.”
Dr Jaworski also made the example of Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
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The experience of the “Velvet Divorce” between Slovakia and the then Czech Republic is often cited by Scottish independence advocates as a possible model for their own breakup with Britain.
However, the Professor said: “The pensions for the Czech Republic and Slovakia was also a very good case.
“They didn’t solve it.
“They didn’t solve the problem of splitting the assets etc.
“Why? Because it was virtually impossible.”
In 2014, a spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party pointed out that it “took 3,000 treaties to agree the breakup of Czechoslovakia”.
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