A PLAN for a new “Scottish triple lock” on pensions which would see payments rise faster than in the UK system has been outlined by Alba.

The party published its proposals to bring Scottish state pensions “into line with other European nations” on Wednesday to coincide with the ninth independence white paper, which focused on social security.

Alba said the UK triple lock pension system could be reformed in an independent Scotland to drive up its value.

As it stands, the triple lock on pensions ensures that the British state pension rises each April in line with the highest out of inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, the average wage increase across the UK, or 2.5%.

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Alba said that a new triple lock could see state pensions rise by whichever is highest out of inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index, the average increase in wages across the UK, or 5%.

It is understood that the party believes pegging the Scottish triple lock after independence to UK wage rises would work to protect people from a situation where that outstrips other metrics, including Scottish wage rises.

Alba further pointed to previous analysis by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which calculated that a typical British worker will at retirement receive a state pension and other benefits worth around 29% of what they had previously been earning. That compares with an average of 63% in other OECD countries, and more than 80% in Italy and the Netherlands.

Neale Hanvey (below), Alba’s leader at Westminster, said: “Pensions are a favourite scare story of the Unionists. Some of them even claim that the UK would not honour the contributions made by Scottish pensioners if we became independent.

The National:

“But the reality is that pensions are not funded by historic contributions but from current revenue and thus it is the Scottish Government which can and would guarantee the payment benefits.

“The only real question about pensions in an independent Scotland is how quickly a Scottish Government would be able to correct course and increase them to bring them into line with the rest of Europe and the developed world from the current miserable UK levels.”

He went on: “In an independent Scotland, Alba expect to see pensions rise as quickly as possible. This would be achieved by introducing a new Scottish state pension triple lock which, based on today’s figures, would mean that after a period of five years a Scottish state pension would stand at over £1000 more per year than the UK state pension.

“Independence gives Scotland the choice to make different decisions – and a key choice we must make is to improve the quality of life of our pensioners.”

Pensions were not mentioned in the white paper published by the Scottish Government on Wednesday, which is understood to be the last of 2023.

Instead, ministers said that a paper focusing on the issue in its own right would be published in the new year.