Scottish Independence: Gordon Brown warns of pensions black hole if Scots vote to leave union


Gordon Brown will this week spearhead an attempt by opponents of Scottish independence to regain the momentum by warning the country would face a £1.5bn pensions and benefits black hole if it breaks away from the United Kingdom.

His intervention comes amid evidence that support for separation is growing ahead of the independence referendum on 18 September. One poll on Sunday suggested a swing of just two points could be enough to secure a Yes vote.

The former Labour Prime Minister will argue that Scotland receives £9.6bn in pensions and benefits annually – £500m more than the amount it should get if the payment was based on the size of its population.

He will also claim it would cost the country £1bn to establish its own pensions system if it separated from the UK.

Mr Brown said: “I will not be setting out the Tory case for Britain. I will set out a positive, forward-looking case for the best future for Scotland, showing how in areas such as pensions it makes good sense to combine having a Scottish parliament with being part of Britain.”

He will be speaking for the first time for the Better Together campaign, which is led by the former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling.

The campaign has come under fire for its tactics as the polls showed a narrowing in the gap between the pro- and anti-independence camps.

An ICM poll for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper showed support for independence at 39 per cent, while opposition had fallen by four points to 42 per cent. The results put Yes on 48 per cent and No on 52 per cent.

The Yes Scotland campaign said the tide was moving in its favour. Blair Jenkins, its chief executive, said: “The extreme negativity of the No campaign is proving a major turn-off for voters.”

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, will hold a shadow Cabinet meeting in Glasgow this week, as well as staging a public meeting in the area. Campaigners believe that working-class Labour-leaning voters in central Scotland could hold the key to the referendum’s outcome.

Mr Miliband’s main task is to persuade them that their best chance of social justice is within a Labour-led UK rather than a breakaway state.

Margaret Curran, the shadow Scottish Secretary, said: “We will show it’s only Labour that has the positive, progressive vision to take Scotland forward.”

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, ridiculed Mr Brown’s claim on pensions and said an independent Scotland was better placed to afford pensions and welfare than the UK.

She said: “The last person anyone in Scotland will take lessons from when it comes to pensions is Gordon Brown – the man who destroyed final-salary pension schemes with his £100bn raid, and insulted our older folk with a miserly 75p increase in the state pension. His track record means he lacks all credibility.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)