sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland


Rainy day blues

Posted on February 24, 2013 by

One of the main weapons in the arsenal of the No campaign is to induce fear in the public over their pensions. It’s a strategy based on the generally inadequate knowledge that most of us have over our pensions, so the “Better Together” coalition has been handing out flyers proclaiming that the pensions of 1 million Scots are guaranteed by remaining in the UK”the implication being that outside of the UK they wouldn’t be.

pensions

But since we can generally assume the contents of their leaflets to be somewhat economical with the truth, what would happen to our pensions after independence?

Pensions are difficult to understand. There are many options, many providers and mostly all that happens is we get one through our work, or through a financial advisor or bank. The average person on the street trusts these institutions to deal with this difficult subject and concerns themselves with no more than “how much goes in” versus “how much should come out”. It’s a situation that has allowed the UK public to be ripped off over the years without even knowing it, but we’ll get to that later.

The modern solution to the problem of being incapable to earn one’s keep due to the advancement of age was first hit upon in 1834, when the UK introduced a pension system covering all civil servants who had at least 45 years in post, giving them a pension of 1/60th of their final salary for each year’s service. The scheme was a great hit and soon the concept had branched out into the first occupational pension schemes for blue-collar workers, in the form of “friendly societies”.

The civil-service system was widely copied, but ran into problems as it was contribution-based. This meant that when aggressive European states wanted funds for weapons, there was a ready source ripe for tapping. The aftermath of World War 2 meant that the pension systems in Europe worked on a sort of national pay-as-you-go basis, with current pensioners being supported by those workers paying into the scheme at the same time, as a means to stop the build-up of large reserves of capital that would prove too tempting to governments.

The UK didn’t have that problem as in 1946, based on Beveridge’s work on welfare, the State pension was reintroduced as an element of the public social security package to which each person was entitled. As such there was no need to look at the relation between pensioner’s incomes and the pension they would receive.

The premise was that the benefit would be universal and financed by general taxation, ensuring that no pensioner would be caught without this state-provided safety net regardless of how their circumstances changed. But in the modern world there are other add-ons to that state system and many of us have private pension schemes either personally sourced or as part of our work.

In order to make this as easy to understand as possible let’s split those options into state pension and private pension, and cover each separately.

publicsector

First of all, just what exactly is the state pension? Currently you have to work for only a year to be eligible for the state pension, and have paid in National Insurance for 30 years to get the full amount (If you only worked for 28 years you would be entitled to 28/30ths). This is the basic state pension of £107.45 per week and is set up to increase by either earnings growth, the Consumer Price Index (the different Retail Price Index was previously used) or 2.5%, whichever is highest.

On top of that basic state pension there’s also the less well-known State Second Pension (or S2P, previously known as SERPS, and which people can opt out of and have the money put into their own private pension schemes) based on the National Insurance contributions an individual has made, and for those unable to live on the standard amounts there’s the means-tested Pension Tax Credit. But this system is about to be ripped apart by Westminster’s latest pension reforms.

If Scotland votes No in 2014, Scots (and everyone else) can look forward to a new state pension system where there is only a basic state pension – at the increased rate of £144 per week – without any of the other add-ons. On face value this looks good – it represents an increase of over one third in the basic state pension, and means that women who take time out for childcare and those on lower incomes will benefit, given that they generally don’t build up better S2P entitlements.

For pretty much everyone else it’s a bad deal. Eligibility has been altered to 10 years of National Insurance payments and 35 years for the full amount (so if you work for 28 years you’d now only get 28/35ths – 80% – of the maximum, whereas previously you’d have got 93.3%). Employees and employers will also have to make an additional five years’ worth of NI payments due to the increased eligibility period – money which will of course accrue to the Treasury in a net £9bn windfall.

While it may be true that funding isn’t devolved, administration is, and the experience of Northern Ireland – where all welfare payments in Northern Ireland are administered through the Northern Irish Government and not the Department of Work and Pensions – proves the system could be run from Holyrood just as easily. In fact Scotland already has its own Scottish Public Pensions Agency which administers pensions for the devolved areas of government already under our control.

(A fact that’s often overlooked when discussing taking on the pensions for civil servants, the armed forces or Royal Mail employees in UK-wide schemes. The systems are already in place and can be adapted to accommodate the enlargement.)

So given that there is no large capital fund to split, and that the departments and expertise already exist to make the transition to managing all pensions, the only real question is therefore could Scotland afford to pay the pension liabilities.

Scotland raises 9.6% of UK revenues and receives back only 9.3% of UK expenditure in return, but spends 15% of GDP on “social protection” compared to 16% for the UK. We are already paying for our share of pensions – it takes 40% of Scottish tax receipts to fund the welfare state, compared to 42% for the UK as a whole. Despite UK government claims to the contrary, welfare (including pensions) is more affordable to Scotland than the UK.

privatepension

Private pensions, meanwhile, are wholly contribution-based, on payments from the employer and the employee. The fund into which these payments are made is run under a contract held between you and your pension provider. Upon independence the terms and conditions of that contract will still be valid, whether they are in Scots law or English law. Your contract with your provider will continue uninterrupted and unaltered.

Unlike a state pension, private pensions are funded directly by the recipient, based on accruing pension pots. The value of your pension pot depends on the value of the pension company’s investments in the stock market – during your lifetime they may rise or fall, as the small print always says.

A share of stock is literally a share in the ownership of a company. When you buy a share of stock, you’re entitled to a small fraction of the assets and earnings of that company. Assets include everything the company owns (buildings, equipment, trademarks), and earnings are all of the money the company brings in from selling its products and services.

Even if the company is profitable, shareholders won’t necessarily receive a cheque in the mail each year with their cut of the profits. Only a few companies, usually long-established firms, hand out annual profit shares in the form of cash payments, called “dividends”.

Most new companies are considered “growth stocks”, meaning that the company reinvests all profit to fuel growth and expansion. In the case of growth stocks, the investment only increases in value as the stock price rises. This is how the pension fund grows – it buys stocks low and then sells them high (or at least aims to).

Being independent will not affect how your stocks do any more than a pension fund investing in stocks on the NYSE in $USD does at present. The stock markets are trading in $USD, £GBP & €EUR, as well as other currencies elsewhere. A pension fund from Scotland does not need to operate through a Scottish Stock Exchange. They can continue to work in the exchanges they currently use, so any notion that Scottish pensions are reliant on the London stock exchange and they would lose access to this upon independence is incorrect.

So neither state nor private pensions would be at risk in an independent Scotland. But is it enough that independence would merely have no negative impact on Scottish pensions? You don’t win people over to your side by promising them more of the same. But we’re in luck here also – there’s something which could be done about private pensions in the UK that could make a real and lasting difference to Scottish society in the long term.

moneywindow

UK savers are currently retiring with pension pots worth 50% less than some of their European counterparts, despite having invested the same amount of money, because of an array of hidden charges. With innocuous-sounding fees of 2.5% the pension funds can grab nearly half of a lifetime’s savings, without the pension saver ever realising that their retirement fund was being syphoned off by a banking system designed to benefit big business over individual savers.

“If a typical British and a typical Dutch person save the same amount of money for their pension, the Dutch person will end up with 50% more income in their retirement than the Briton. There is no trick here. No special tax considerations. No clever investment strategies. It’s just that the Dutch have an efficient architecture for their savings. We do not.” 

So why are we letting our pension entitlement be eroded in order to maintain the profitability of big business? There simply isn’t the will at the UK level to legislate for pension fees, so powerful is the City lobby at Westminster on the grounds of the size of its contribution to tax revenues.

But an independent Scottish government – which would be vastly less dependent on the financial services sector, due in large part to oil wealth – wouldn’t be nearly so beholden to bankers as the UK government has allowed itself to become. People could have bigger pensions (or retire years earlier than their rUK counterparts) if legislation was introduced to curb the excessive charges made by pension funds.

The future for the UK’s ageing population is a grim one. Within the Union we’re all going to have to work for years longer before receiving a pension whose eligibility age is already beyond the life expectancy of many Scots, and whose real value is being not only eroded by fees but by dirty tricks like the switch from RPI to CPI (in the public sector) and Gordon Brown’s 1997 “raid” (in the private sector).

Scotland can already afford pensions better than the UK as a whole. Independent, it would be free of the self-serving private-profit tyranny of the City of London and able to do better still for its citizens, whether public-sector employees or private-sector ones.

In 2014, Scots will have to decide whether they want to work years more into their old age in order to subsidise not just pensioners in Kent and Sussex, but also the continuing vast salaries of the bankers and hedge fund managers who caused the economic disaster in the first place. It’ll be an interesting choice.

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116 to “Rainy day blues”

  1. chicmac says:

    Superb, clear and much needed article.

      

  2. Morag says:

    I just discovered a few months ago that instead of already having maxed my NI contributions I will have to work until Christmas 2016 to make a full pension.  Unless I get some sort of credit for spending 10 years at university which I doubt.

    When I began work I believed I would get my state pension when I was 60.  Then they told me no, not till 62.  Then only last year they changed their minds again and gave me a date only a couple of weeks before my 65th birthday.

    I once thought it didn’t really matter that much as my private pension would be sufficient.  But every time I get an envelope from Scottish Widows it’s forecasting even less of an income.  What should have been a reasonable income is turning into a pittance.  And my savings are yielding pocket change.  I really need that state pension, because my fuel bills have doubled since I bought my house in 2007, and I’m desperate not to have to move.

    This is what the “stability” of the union has done to me.  Instead of being in a position to retire any time now if I wanted to, I must go on another four years.  And when I do retire I’ll be counting the pennies and may not be able to go on living in my much-loved home.

    Vote Yes next year for a hope of a better future.

      

  3. The Man in the Jar says:

    Thanks Rev Stu.
    As I am fast approaching 60 this is very relevant and informative. It will serve me well when discussing the referendum with my contemporaries.

      

  4. cath says:

    Very good article – thanks Scott.
     
     

      

  5. CameronB says:

    I am sure there is an office in Whitehall, where all the do is come up with crafty schemes to screw us. Should we continue to use mean average when calculating average wages, or return to median earnings?

      

  6. ianbrotherhood says:

    Great stuff Scott – I’m going to print this out, make copies, and give them to the old dear to take to the next meeting of the Womens Guild. She says ‘they’re aye moaning aboot something’. Well, they can get their teeth into this over a cuppa.

      

  7. cath says:

    There is a lot that can be done with pensions too. I heard Richard Murphy speak a bit about this idea – that you could make pensions tax relief dependent on pensions firms investing some in local, small business rather than allowing them to invest everything outside the country. Seems like a brilliant idea if we could do something like that.

    http://www.financeforthefuture.com/MakingPensionsWork.pdf
     

      

  8. Marcia says:

    Thanks Scott for this, I shall take it to my Pensioners Club meeting.

      

  9. Craig P says:

    Pensions most certainly are not guaranteed by staying in the union. Gordon Brown took a big cut from pensions and we know that the pensionable age is going up. Even more alarmingly, governments in the past have ‘nationalised’ private pensions and legally, there is nothing the punter can do to get redress. 
     
    I would not trust my UK pension at all. 
     

      

  10. Craig P says:

    Oh and Scott – that Dutch vs UK comparison is flabbergasting. We are getting shafted. I wish I could have a foreign pension :(

      

  11. tartanfever says:

    Brilliant article Scott, we were just talking about pensions yesterday in the house and you’ve inadvertently answered our questions here.

    Morag, sorry to hear of your plight – the cost of energy is seriously frightening and I’ve just decided to take advantage of a ‘price freeze’ offer from my supplier for the next year. Might be worth considering.

      

  12. Morag says:

    Oh, don’t worry about me, I’m fine.  I’ll be OK.  I’ve got a secure job and I’ll just keep it for longer than I had intended to.  I like it, anyway.  I’ll just keep a young colleague out of it, really.

    And I’ll be all right.  But having watched my older cousins, who had ordinary jobs like being teachers, embark on a permanent holiday as soon as they turned 60, two holidays a year, never short of a penny, I realise this is not going to be for me.

    I counted my pennies when I was young and starting out and I can do it again.  But it’s galling to realise I’ll probably have to, considering what I’ve put into my pension and savings over the years since then.

      

  13. The Man in the Jar says:

    Apologies to Scott
    I should have credited your good self in my earlier comment.
    Old age catching up. Supposed to be expected due to the subject matter.
    Wee smiley thing.

      

  14. Wullie says:

    Aye and oor Gordie Broon picks up £115,000 a year on top of his wages and he still has a pension from the public purse to pick up when he retires. aint the union great.

      

  15. Derick says:

    Personally, having always worked, but never made big bucks, getting a decent pension is probably The major reason I am intending to vote Yes and working for a Yes vote. Will share this one.

      

  16. AnneDon says:

    When I was in the Civil Service in the 1980s, you only got 1/80th contribution each year, and were expected to retire after 40 years on 1/2 of your final salary. Was it actually better in the 19th Century?

      

  17. Simon says:

    There is a direct connection between the UK government’s actions, and the reduction in people’s pensions.

    The UK government in 2008 set off on a course of bailing out the banks (i.e. bailing out the institutional investors and bondholders in the banks), though “Quantitive easing”. Basicallt the UK government aim was to support the values of assets owned by the rich and priveleged, so that those who had gambled in the financial markets did not need to take their losses when their bets turned sour.

    This course of action has lots of side effects, including the low rates you get for pension investments and annuities nowadays.

    Lookijng at the priorities of the UK government, I would say that long term pension provision is a long way down the list, well behind maintaining the wealth of politicians, bankers and party backers.

    Would an independent Scotland do any better than this? It’s hard to imagine how it could possibly do worse!

      

  18. Dcanmore says:

    An excellent clear article, thank you Scott.

      

  19. velofello says:

    Truly outstanding article. However – I just love that word – it is probably too long for the attention span of many so a precised “bullet point” version would serve well.
    That there is no UK state pension pot may be an earthshaking revelation to many but then how could there be with UK debt at around £1.5  trillion. And if there is no ring-fenced state pension fund and with declining UK labour productivity to fund a Pay As You Go scheme by the currently employed, where does that lead the masses? Shit creek?
    What chance the Herald or the Scotsman asking Rev Stu if they can use this article? It does vitally concern us all.Or the BBC and STV reporting on it? And why not? i attended
     the march yesterday in Glasgow over media bias. Just +100 turned up in a Glasgow suburbia of around one million. So when the disinterested masses find themselves to have been paddled up shit creek, what then? How oh how do you get their attention? 
    The rich are rich because they like and seek wealth.And if the masses continue to fail to pay attention the rich will protect their wealth at the masses expense.

      

  20. Robert Kerr says:

    You can’t win. I tried, I have two small company pensions and have yet to claim the basic state pension. When I do all of it shall be taxed since the others take up all my allowances.
    I did not trust the “Financial Services” industry so I worked overseas for some years and accrued sufficient cash to live on through retirement, or so I thought.
    Yes you can save if you don’t pay tax and NI.
    But.
    The value of my Sterling cash has depreciated by thirty percent as a consequence of UK government policy. Further what I have left gains less than 2% interest and is therefore less than inflation. Despite an effective negative interest rate this money is subject to taxation.
    That is obscene !
    The Bank of England has “printed money” although they don’t call it that. Effectively they are debasing the coinage electronically. Remember that Hitler forged English fivers and had the Luftwaffe drop them from bombers. Debasing the currency was then an act of war.
    The policies of the UK government and the central bank are also obscene.
    What price “sound money” ?
    Sorry for the rant but this is personal.
    “Yes” Scotland must up the ante regarding economic policies and how an Independent Scotland would really be better. “Sound as a Pound Scots!” Sounds good to me.

      

  21. Hermione says:

     
    This article completely misses the point that a state pay-as-you-go pension system is a lot safer if you have a growing number of workers (either by birth or immigration) paying for retiree benefits.
    Now, where in the UK do we have a forecast strong increase in population – is it Scotland or is the Southeast?
     

      

  22. Iain says:

    @Hermione
     
    ‘Now, where in the UK do we have a forecast strong increase in population – is it Scotland or is the Southeast?’
     
    Ah, a new addition to the mantra – ‘too underpopulated’.
     
    So, along with waiting for some ever more hypothetical boom in the economy of London & the Southeast (as noted by MacWhirter) to haul us out of the glaur, to secure a basic pension we need them to squeeze yet more folk into one of the most heavily populated areas in Western Europe. Wouldn’t it be better if Scotland was able to promote its own population growth?

      

  23. Doug Daniel says:

    Hermione – thanks for pointing out another potential benefit of independence. UK immigration policy is completely at odds with the needs of Scotland, because we should be welcoming immigrants with open arms to help increase our working-age population. The thinly-veiled racism that informs UK immigration policies is detrimental to Scotland. 
     
    Oh yeah, and it’ll stop the Brain Drain of young Scots migrating to the south-east of England to make a living, as they’ll go to Edinburgh or Glasgow instead. 
     
    Scott, I think you’ve outdone yourself with this one. My mum is approaching pension age, and I asked her where she would be getting her pension from. She just assumed it was what she’d been paying all her life, rather than paying other people’s pensions. The Better Together claim is clearly predicated on the idea that there’s a big pot of money marked UK Pensions. If we can educate people about the realities, maybe that stubborn resistance to independence amongst older generations will finally break down. 

      

  24. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Hermione

    Dunno mate, you tell us.

      

  25. cath says:

    “Now, where in the UK do we have a forecast strong increase in population – is it Scotland or is the Southeast?”
     
    Are you talking about right now, when we live in a country horribly over-centralised, oer-crowded in London and the south, with immigration policy for the entire country set to try and dampen down the over-heating there? Or a post independence Scotland?

    Because there will be a huge difference.

    A post independence Scotland will be creating jobs through simply becoming independent – brining up civil service ones currently done in London, for example. It will, for the first time, have control of its own immigration policy and will also be re-industrialising, especially in things like engineering, renewables and life sciences.

    So I would predict we will easily have a rising population. I would hope, though, that we don’t make the same mistake the UK and others have done of building in a reliance on an ever-growing population to keep paying pensions. That would be stupid.

      

  26. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Hermione -
    Forgive me, I’m a bit slow, but what is your point? That we all go and work in London, pay our taxes and hope that some of it will trickle-down by the time we’ve retired? What, if anything, are you trying to say? I can’t be the only one who gets a bit hacked-off having to decode posts from snide unionists who daren’t state what they really think/feel because it looks so putrid in simple language.
    If you’ve something to say, please say it and stop fannying about.

      

  27. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @Hermoine

    Interestingly, another option exists for Scotland in the short term as we reduce spending on defence and save money on not having other westminster waste either.

    Add to that the long term possibilities of stemming emigration and attracting immigration to Scotland (combined with our lower initial costs & sadly the lower life expectancy over the short to medium term) and Scotland will more than be able to maintain a pay as you go system.

      

  28. orpheuslyre says:

    Deeply interesting article. I know nothing at all about pensions, don’t have a scheme, and will be dependent on a basic state pension when I stop work, which isn’t as unimaginably distant as it once was. So, I’ll be very much poorer than I am now. It doesn’t bother me much. On the other hand, I do know that other people get very concerned and even indignant about their pension arrangements and it will be a factor in the campaign against Independence. This is a useful introductory argument to the issue.

      

  29. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Ah, a new addition to the mantra – ‘too underpopulated’.”

    To be fair, that comes under “too wee”.

      

  30. velofello says:

    @Hermione;Funny that you should mention a growing number of immigrant workers as a funding source for the state pension.
    There was a BBC programme this week on how well some inner London schools were doing with  almost totally immigrant pupil populations. Reference was made to investment, I think it was called the London Initiative, in the schools and the after-school tuition by graduates to assist each pupil, language being mentioned as a specific need, to reach the necessary standards. Seemed almost like 24/7 surveillance. Comparison was then made with a school in Yorkshire attended by “native” white children and sort of indicated the low aspirations of the children and their parents. And i don’t recall whether after-school graduate support was available at the Yorkshire school.
    I’ve mused on this programme for a few days, something was nagging at me, and then I concluded, these immigrant children are being trained like worker drones for inner London.Sort of fits with your future P-A-Y-G pension funders.
    Melodramatic maybe, but that is my abiding impression from the programme.

      

  31. Hermione says:

    @Cath
     
    “A post independence Scotland will be creating jobs through simply becoming independent – brining up civil service ones currently done in London”
     
    Ah, excellent. So you admit that “independence” will bring huge additional costs in having to duplicate civil service functions which currently serve the entire UK.
     
    Marvellous.

      

  32. scottish_skier says:

    Hermione Now, where in the UK do we have a forecast strong increase in population – is it Scotland or is the Southeast?
    I completely agree with you; Scotland needs independence to grow its population. Within the UK as you say, the government will continue to invest in the SE at the expense of the rest of the country, hence the very limited* economic growth the UK can achieve in the future will be confined to there, ergo immigration will be to there.
    *Inequality in the UK is now too high for sustained growth; only stuttering modest growth, stagnation or continued regression is possible without reducing inequality back to 1970′s levels. Stagnation/regression is what we currently have, with the UK having regressed 10 years recently due to UK government policy.

      

  33. Hermione says:

    @Doug D
     
    “Hermione – thanks for pointing out another potential benefit of independence. UK immigration policy is completely at odds with the needs of Scotland, because we should be welcoming immigrants with open arms”
    Again, excellent. You admit that an “independent” Scotland with a different immigration policy from the rest of the UK WOULD mean border controls.
     
    “Oh yeah, and it’ll stop the Brain Drain of young Scots migrating to the south-east of England to make a living, as they’ll go to Edinburgh or Glasgow instead. ”
     
    Er, how exactly? London and its many high-pay jobs will still be there. Unless you are proposing that the citizens of “independent” Scotland would be barred from emigrating.
     
    Curious.

      

  34. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @Hermoine
     
    Ah, excellent. So you admit that “independence” will bring huge additional costs in having to duplicate civil service functions which currently serve the entire UK.
     
    I hate to tell you, but replicating jobs in Scotland that we currenty pay for in London is not going to break the bank…
     
    We already pay for these people, they just perform those functions elsewhere.
     
    What we will benefit from is a reduction in unemployment and a redistribution of our own wealth to Scotland rather than being syphoned off by the Westminster system.

      

  35. Hermione says:

    @S_s
    “Within the UK as you say, the government will continue to invest in the SE at the expense of the rest of the country,”
     
    “The government” will invest?
     
    I thought the bulk of investment was done by private companies and individuals.
     

      

  36. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @Hermoine
     
    Agreed standard immigration policies with Scotland able to negotiate for increased immmigration into Scotland where a job exists.
     
    Its not rocket science…
     
    Besides people are unlikely to “jump ship” to England if they are already settled with work here.
     
    Nice try though.

      

  37. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @Hermoine
     
    “I thought the bulk of investment was done by private companies and individuals.”
     
    Yes it is. But tax and incentive schemes can make that private investment happen.

      

  38. scottish_skier says:

    I thought the bulk of investment was done by private companies and individuals.
    Sorry, I should have said ‘big infrastructure projects’, e.g. Olympics, HS2, new London sewer system, motorways, roads etc.
    And anyway, as I said, the UK can’t grow until inequality is reduced. That’s why the UK is stuck/stagnating/retrogressing. It has reached the peak of the capitalist cycle and can only go backwards now unless the government intervenes in a huge way.

      

  39. cath says:

    “Besides people are unlikely to “jump ship” to England if they are already settled with work here.”
     
    Exactly. I find that argument baffling, If there isn’t currently and issue with immigrants sneaking in through Scotland then heading south, why would there be post indy? Far less if Scotland is able to offer legal immigration routes, with paid jobs in areas that need people. The idea those engineers or scientists would “jump ship” to become illegal immigrants in England is laughable.

      

  40. Macsenex says:

    Surely the YES campaign should suggest that we all switch to Dutch pension providers? It would sure get publicity

      

  41. muttley79 says:

    @Hermione
     
    Would it be right in saying you are involved in the Red Paper Collective?  Also, you appear to have entrenched unionist views (judging by your comments), but also appear to attempt to dis-associate yourself from the No campaign.  Given that we all know that the referendum is about Yes/No to independence, can you explain how a No vote is going to benefit Scotland, and advance Socialism here, or the rest of the UK?

    Reading your posts on WoS I do not get the impression you are even open to independence (apologies if that is not the case).  If that is the case, can you give evidence that the UK will become progressive in the event of a No vote?   

      

  42. creag an tuirc says:

    I’m looking forward to Grahamski and Niko’s comments on this.

      

  43. Hermione says:

    @s_s
    “And anyway, as I said, the UK can’t grow until inequality is reduced.”
     
    Ah. Clearly this means that the USA, China and India “can’t grow” either.
     

      

  44. Hermione says:

    @s_s
     
    “It has reached the peak of the capitalist cycle and can only go backwards”
     
    What exactly is this “capitalist cycle” from which we can “only go backwards”?
     
    Has anyone told the Americans, Chinese, Indians, Australians, etc etc about it?
     
    My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter. Capitalism seems to be fine.

      

  45. MajorBloodnok says:

    It’s Grahamski in drag.

      

  46. scottish_skier says:

    Ah. Clearly this means that the USA, China and India “can’t grow” either.

    It’s not my opinion, but rather that of leading economists; nobel laureates in fact.

    And putting india/china on the same example list as the UK/USA suggests you might want to read up on the subject of economics, at least the basics.

    Is the US growing rapidly BTW? I understand india and china are. Do you know why that is? It would appear not.
    A couple of recent, relevant articles to get you started.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/inequality-is-holding-back-the-recovery/

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/warning-to-scots-over-uk-income-divide.20215477

    Or maybe your aim is to have the UK like india/china/the USA socially? I assumed you were more left leaning. Apologies if I got that wrong.

      

  47. muttley79 says:

    @Hermione
    My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter. Capitalism seems to be fine.

    I thought you were a Socialist from the Red Paper Collective (that was the thread you started posting on here)?

      

  48. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Hermione -
    ‘My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter. Capitalism seems to be fine.’
    Oh dear.
    How sad.
    I hope whoever’s paying you to post this rubbish got a receipt and demands a full refund, plus 10% for time-wasting.
    You are as ineffectual as you are offensive. 

      

  49. scottish_skier says:

    @Hermione
    Enjoy riots do you? There’s more to come. Tent cities USA-style maybe too.

    You’ve never heard of revolutions? What do you think caused many of those historically? People just got up one morning and decided to have one. Or maybe it was something else…
    The last peak of capitalism (and inequality) gave us two successive world wars and subsequent global socialist revolutions of vary degrees. We bottomed out in the 1970′s before the next cycle began. We’re approaching the next apex of that now.

    My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter. Capitalism seems to be fine.

    I don’t think anyone is remotely interested in your portfolio.
     

      

  50. muttley79 says:

    @Hermione
     
    My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter. Capitalism seems to be fine.
     
    Are you aware that we are in the worst economic crisis since the 1930s?  (It might turn out to be worse than that given the results of austerity so far).  You say that Capitalism is fine.  Are you aware that more and more people are relying on food banks?  Do you have any kind of a social conscience at all?  Are you a stockbroker or something?     

      

  51. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Hermione-
    Have a swatch at these images. I know towns in Scotland that look like this – I live in one of them.
    http://www.webofentertainment.com/2013/02/america-images-of-countrys-poorest.html
    Then, come back here and tell us more about your wonderful ‘portfolio’, you ******* ****.

      

  52. kininvie says:

    @ianbrotherhood To be fair, if you have a self-invested personal pension, which is the only sane option for self-employed people who distrust (with reason) the ‘financial services’ industry, it is quite important that capitalism thrives! Those of us who once believed in cradle-to-grave state support have been shafted so often, that the only rational response has been to learn how to do it yourself. I have taught my children to avoid like the plague anything that calls itself a financial product. Much though I would like to think an independent Scotland would be different, I doubt it will be able to escape the enslaving net of the pensions industry.

      

  53. ianbrotherhood says:

    @kininvie-
    Sorry pal, but right now I’m not in the best of moods to consider the ‘pragmatics’ – bottom-line: ‘capitalism’ is rotten. It is fundamentally, inherently corrupt and can only ‘thrive’ if our basest instincts – especially fear and greed – are stimulated. It only exists as a result of exploitation and can only survive if exploitation continues. I’m not coming at this from some ideological stance – I’ve never read Marx and don’t intend to. It’s an instinctive revulsion at basic unfairness and suppression of common decency.  
    Hermione, right here, is baiting, trolling, call it what-you-will, and doing so as if these debates are nothing more than an interesting parlour-game.
    This isn’t a game. I don’t speak for anyone else, but I monitor this and other sites because I want to know what’s happening, how the push for independence is progressing, and what quality of opposition we’re up against. On the basis of what I’ve seen from Hermione, Grahamski, Willie Z etc, I’m more convinced than ever that we MUST win this thing – if we don’t, we’re at the mercy of the Bullingdon types who burn £50 notes in front of ‘tramps’ as part of their initiation.
     

      

  54. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter. Capitalism seems to be fine.”

    Really very close to trolling indeed. Step carefully, unpleasant person.

      

  55. Peter says:

    Pensions are the biggest scam ever, worse than the endownment mis-selling racket. It is a way to get a regular supply of money from the average punter into the City where it is invested, if you are lucky enough to live long enough you will get it back in dribs and drabs, if you happen to start living longer they raise the retirement age.
    I was told when I was twenty one start paying into a pension now and you will be able to retire at fifty, well that aint gonna happen, thieving b’stards…

      

  56. Hermione says:
    24 February, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter. Capitalism seems to be fine.
     
    Good on you in believing the fantasy of a rigged market manipulated by scientists and physicians who have created the algorithms on computer models to feed the few shows how gullible you are.   The markets are a fictional world feeding on ignorance fed by the many for the benefit of a few at the top.

      

  57. kininvie says:

    @Peter Exactly my point. The whole pensions industry is a corrupt scam, which damages both employers and employees.
    @ ianbrotherhood. I don’t disagree. But we need to offer our old people security. How do we pay for this (given demographics) without imposing intolerable tax burden on young earners? I see no answer other than investing in growing assets (whether here or China doesn’t matter). Perhaps you have a different solution? What we have seen (& see Sneekyboy’s take on it) is that govts sooner or later succumb to temptation to raid pensions. Would indy Scotland be different? Maybe. Maybe not. What I’d like is to see far better financial education so people can see when they are being ripped off.

      

  58. Hetty says:

    Re; Hermione, I do wonder if this is a genuine contributor even interested in a decent intelligent debate. We don’t all have to agree on matters but the posts seem designed to fluff up some feathers and detract from the real issues being discussed.
    Stranger things have happened.

      

  59. Cyborg-nat says:

    Rev Stu,
    I seem to remember the”unpleasant person” from CIF or somewhere.A dreary and forgettable Troll which would explain why the normal posters here have forgotten the name.

      

  60. Adrian B says:

    Hermione is clearly one of those Labour party fanboys.
     
    Here is a piece from the Guardian from last October about Jim murphy:
     
    An “inherited poverty”, as Murphy puts it, now stands in the way of young working-class people’s “aspirations”.
     
    http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/05/jim-murphy-middle-class-mobility

      

  61. rabb says:

    Hermione says:
    24 February, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    @Cath

    “A post independence Scotland will be creating jobs through simply becoming independent – brining up civil service ones currently done in London”

    Ah, excellent. So you admit that “independence” will bring huge additional costs in having to duplicate civil service functions which currently serve the entire UK.

    Marvellous.
     
    Hermione,
    Are you seriously that stupid?
     
    These are “functions” we are already paying for. Do you honestly believe that Westminster foots the bill for them? Wake up for goodness sake.
     
    The difference under independence is that those salaries and their associated taxes and consumer spend (civil servants need to eat and have a roof over their heads like the rest of us) will reside in Scotland and not London. That is a benefit to us and not an additional cost.
     
    Let’s be absolutely clear and transparent on this. “UK plc” does not give any part of the UK anything for nothing. There is a direct cost for everything “UK plc” provides and it has it’s margin on top for good measure. Make no mistake about that.
     
    The real shame on “UK plc” is that it has opted over the years to spend that margin on illegal wars (at the behest of their parent company “USA plc”) and on ensuring the ruling classes are prosperous. Their utter contempt for the working man is nothing short of criminal.

    It’s margin is now tighter than a Tesco farmer’s. So what does it choose to do?

    Stop the Trident replacement program to save £100bn……………No

    Cut back on defence spending to a realistic level for a country it’s size…………No

    Place a higher tax burdon on those more able to pay……………..No
     
    Slash welfare on those most vulnerable in society…………….Yes

    Penailise people with a spare room even though the council put them there in the first place through no fault of their own………….Yes

    Force the unemployed to work in shops where everything in it is worth £1 more than them….Yes

    It’s an absolutely shocking country to live in and don’t dare and try to defend the indefensible.
     
    You my friend are no better than David Cameron or Ian Duncan Smith if your happy to support it!
     
    Apologies for the rant folks!!
     
     

      

  62. ianbrotherhood says:

    @kininvie -
    ‘…we need to offer our old people security’
    Agreed. But why assume that the ‘security’ they need must be provided via the ‘free market’ when it’s become blindingly obvious how many so-called ‘granny-farms’ operate? At the risk of sounding hopelessly naive, I suggest that each and every one of us has a duty to ensure that our elders live out their final years with some degree of dignity as well as ‘security’ – they need our attention and love, not shunting-away into well-decorated ex-hotels where the staff are, in effect, wage-slaves.
    In any event, this discussion is supposed to be about ‘pensions’ – remember Robert Maxwell? Do you honestly believe – in the wake of what we now know about the behaviour of the financial sector – that any pension-pots, anywhere, are truly safe? How can we be sure? Are they required to provide proof? If so, who asks them, and when?
    Is your pension secure? 
    Sure?
     

      

  63. Albert Herring says:

    @rabb
    Close tax loopholes………….No
    Do something about British dependency tax havens………………No

      

  64. ianbrotherhood says:

    @rabb (10.41)
    It’s not a rant, so don’t apologise for it – these c-c-c-c-c-characters have to be confronted and dealt-with as and when they slither into view.
    So, where are ye ‘Hermione’? Is that you finished your stint? Do you have to post x-number of posts before making out that invoice?
    Away back under yer stone, ya roaster.

      

  65. Hermione says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    24 February, 2013 at 10:03 pm
    “My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter. Capitalism seems to be fine.””
     
    Stating a fact is somehow “trolling”?
     
    Again, curious.
     

      

  66. ianbrotherhood says:

    Oh-oh, here we go – who was it held the jackets last time?

      

  67. ianbrotherhood says:

    I’m offering 2/5 on Rev…any takers?

      

  68. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Stating a fact is somehow “trolling”?”

    It can be, yes, if done solely to antagonise and disrupt (assuming it’s a fact at all, of course, for which we have no evidence). I’m short on patience today. Final warning.

      

  69. scottish_skier says:

    Hermione
    “My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter””
    This is not a fact, simply an assertion.

      

  70. Albert Herring says:

    “My portfolio’s up more than 10% this quarter. Capitalism seems to be fine.”
    So’s mine, but it was down the previous quarter. Was capitalism fine then? Shares go up and down like it says in the small print.
    What’s that got to do with the price of bread?
    If you can’t see the cyclical nature of capitalism, you’re simply not looking.
    Are you Gordon Brown in disguise?

      

  71. kininvie says:

    @ianbrotherhood 1) No I don’t believe any pensions are safe, which is why I don’t have one, except what I have chosen to provide for myself (and how to do that outside the capitalist system is a different question, which maybe we needn’t embark on just at the moment?) 2) Yes, of course I am horrified by granny farms, and by the low wage and low esteem in which the caring profession is held. But you haven’t answered my question, which is how we pay for a better system without imposing an intolerable tax burden on young earners?

      

  72. Russell Bruce says:

    Morag
    You have reason to be concerned and you need to look very closely at those reports from Sottish Widows. How much has your pension pot increased in the last statement? How much have you contributed in the year? and How much have they deducted in changes for the year?  The percentage take Scott talks about comes out year after year and not only does this mean they take more out in total each year, assuming your pension has increased in value, but the percentage fee tends to go up as well.
    You may well be better with A SIPP – Self invested Personal Pension. But first check that there is not a guaranteed element to your policy. More and more people are taking control of their pensions this way

      

  73. ianbrotherhood says:

    @kininvie -
    Okay. Fair enough.
    I’m not an economist, but how would I raise such dosh?
    How about a 0.5% levy on EVERY transaction happening via whatever Stock-Exchange centre emerges in an Independent Scotland?
    Other folk here will know roughly what that could/should generate, and if such a ‘punitive’ measure happens to dissuade speculators from infecting our new system? So much the better. We don’t need the likes of RBS – they’ve disgraced themselves and this country. We can do better. Given the chance, we will.

      

  74. CameronB says:

    @ kininvie
    Ending fractional reserve banking for a start. Licenced counterfiting would be a more accurate way of describing it, and you get to pay interest for the pleasure. A bit like feudal manoralism, when you not only had to provide labour but also rent to your feudal lord.

      

  75. Adrian B says:

    @ Ianbrotherhood
     
    How about a 0.5% levy on EVERY transaction happening via whatever Stock-Exchange centre emerges in an Independent Scotland?
     
    This is a very similar proposition that was doing the rounds prior to the 2010 General Election. Cameron didn’t want it as it might spook UK investors. It didn’t happen as within Europe the biggest stock exchange is London. Our Westminster Government didn’t want it and I think the financial institutions knew they got away without having to collect it.
     
    Funny Union we are in when the priorities are for making greater wealth for the ‘haves’ while penalising the less fortunate in society. 
     

      

  76. kininvie says:

    @Ianbrotherhood The Tobin tax & varieties thereof http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobin_tax is certainly a possible solution, & the EU is very keen on it (Westminster is not, surprise, surprise). The problem is two-fold: 1) An indy Scotland is unlikely to have a significant exchange of its own that could be taxed. 2) Even if it had, I am free to buy from New York/Frankfurt/Anywhere & trying to track down my international transactions and tax me on them is going to be an expensive pain. In essence, I think we have to look at improving traditional methods; first by ring-fecing pension funds so that govts & corporate shysters (Maxwell) can’t get at them & second by looking at the regulation of who runs them and how. Trustees have not been notably good at getting a good deal for the members of pension funds – they all too often pass the decisions on to someone in an expensive suit. There are alternative models that are worth studying – especially (as usual) in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries. But there are no easy answers. I merely contend that the current system is corrupt and bust, but that hiking the general tax burden on earners with young families to pay the pensions of the elderly may not be a good answer…..

      

  77. Doug Daniel says:

    After reading some of the excitement and ideas on Eddi Reader’s Twitterfeed tonight (it seems she’s finally “come out” as being pro-indy, although I think she may have hinted at it before), I just cannot be fucked dealing with the negative “find a fault in everything” shite that folk like Hermione (nice working class name that) come out with. It’s dull, it’s pathetic, and it’s just utterly dripping of self-loathing. 
     
    What kind of unbearable cunt spends their time thinking up reasons why their country is too shit to survive and thrive on the same terms as everyone else? Seriously, just fuck off. 

      

  78. kevbaby says:

    @Doug Daniel
    Well said dude!!! :-)

      

  79. kininvie says:

    O/T There was a previous thread about football support & indyref. Well, @rangersforindy has just emerged on Twitter.

      

  80. The Man in the Jar says:

    @Doug Daniel
    Regarding Eddi Reader declaring for Yes. It could be because she is good friends with Karine Polwart. Indeed they have collaborated many times. Along with Julie Fowlis, Karen Matheson, Phil Cunningham etc. In fact just about everyone that plays at Celtic Connections. (The clue is in the title)
    It would be exciting to speculate what kind of line-up could make up a large music festival in aid of independence. A Yes-fest?

      

  81. kininvie says:

    @ Doug Daniel What the hell do names have to do with anything? For all you know, I may be called Tarquin thingummy-smythe, but I’ve stumped the streets in the cause of Independence for going on 20 years. Other than that quibble, I agree. Negativity goes nowhere. Lovely to see how quickly @eddiereader was welcomed on board (and maybe booked for the 2013 rally)…

      

  82. Doug Daniel says:

    Kininvie – names have nothing to do with it, but when someone posts such utterly facile arguments and goes on about their “portfolio”, I reserve the right to throw in a cheap shot!
     
    Anyway, as you two guys have pointed out, there’s a burgeoning attitude of pro-indy feeling amongst Scotland’s musical talent – we also have Mogwai, The Proclaimers, Biffy Clyro and even – although I have no time for their music at all  - The View. Its getting to be like the comedy scene, where just about every comic of any relevance to come out of Scotland in recent years – Frankie Boyle, the Burnistoun boys, Greg Hemphill, Kevin Bridges, and the god of the internet that is Limmy – is vocally supportive of independence. Add to that all the pro-indy writers as well, and you’ve got an abundance of Scottish cultural heavyweights that could be utilised for getting folk interested in independence.
     
    It would be great to see some more of them at the next Indy March and taking part in gigs for raising awareness. There’s a cultural explosion just waiting to happen.

      

  83. kininvie says:

    @doug daniel That’s just what I’m waiting for…..some events to start spreading the message. Fed up with bloody leaflets and balloons. It’s not a general election for God’s sake; it’s everyone’s future. And the #bettertogether line up is….?

      

  84. molly says:

    Actually Doug, Hermiones posts just emphasise to me the completely different mindset of what kind of society I want my kids to live in .A fairer one where you sign an agreement to pay something and the terms are adhered to or you agree to pay something and the terms are changed outwith your control.Think endowment mortgages,pension terms, redundancy conditions, energy prices, benefit claims,PPI,  insurance policies take your pick.
    Most of us have signed up to one of these and each in good faith ,trying to do the right thing and at every turn the conditions have been changed. Yet if I decided halfway through a contract to say,nah I’ll pay less or pay when I feel like it cos the shareholders in my house are demanding more ,what would the response be?
    I think that Hermiones posts only emphasize two things.
    There is no time frame  for the austerity cuts to end. Alisdair Darling cannot tell us,David Cameron cannot tell us and certainly George Osbourne appears unable to envisage a time when ‘normal service ‘will resume and in the meantime as each major institution is found out we are being asked to still’ believe’ and some( despite history )like Hermione do.
    Hermiones crass portfolio jibe only emphasises to me the gaping gulf between aspiring to be able to get my children a good education,live a healthier life, contribute something and ultimately a happier life than live my life reinforcing a system that is so corrupt that it is actually detrimental to the majority, after all as my Granny used to say ,”you cannae take it with you”.
    Lastly Derek Bateman interviewed a guy from Denmark a few months back ,who was talking about pensions.The groups he represented were backed by the Danish Govt but not run by the Govt so food for thought there but he quite openly stated the shareholders interests etc are creamed of first here, then us the contributers are attended to ,funny enough its the reverse over there according to him.

      

  85. Melanie McKellar says:

    BETTER TOGETHER BLOG: 21 Feb 2013
     
    Speaking about the National Campaign Weekend, Better Together Campaign Director, Blair McDougall  said
     
    “This weekend we are taking our campaigning to a level never before seen in Scotland. Thousands of Scots will be taking part in hundreds of events over the next few days. They will be knocking on doors, holding street stalls and delivering our new leaflet in huge quantities to homes and businesses.
     
    “In contrast to the separatist campaign, our materials don’t attack the other side of the argument. We simply offer facts, and the perspective of real Scots who offer their reasons for sticking together in the UK.
     
    ‘People want facts, not politics. This isn’t an election where politicians will make the decisions. This decision is for us as Scots to make.”
     
    So folks when they come-a-knocking ask them about the FACTS over your pension fund, print this article out and give them a copy!
     
     Well written, clear article  that everyone should read! Thank you Scott Minto.

      

  86. scottish_skier says:

    O/T
    Note sure if this has been noted here yet, but meanwhile, over at the Scotsman, the Tories  are apparently soon going to say it’s just fine for Scotland the use the £ under independence.

    Based on recent developments, it seems they’re busy preparing a series of papers aimed at bringing the UK to an end.

    After all, they can’t govern the UK and keep Scotland.

      

  87. scottish_skier says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21570578
    AAA loss: Pound falls as markets react to downgrade
    Aye.

      

  88. scottish_skier says:

    I wonder…. Let’s say it’s a Yes in Autumn 2014. Arguably, Scots MPs in Westminster should no longer be able to vote after this; certainly on issues that won’t apply to an independent Scotland nor have no effect on it whilst it ‘remains in the UK’ during the transition to independence.

    Would 6 months be enough to get the boundary changes through? You’d think so if there was the will.

    Tories would be sitting on an effective majority after all. I wonder how their West Lothian Question investigation is getting on; not heard much since they kicked it off…

      

  89. scottish_skier says:

    Of course you can understand why the rUK would be keen on using Scotland’s currency post independence.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21564947

    North Sea oil investment at 30-year high, industry says

      

  90. cath says:

    “There’s a cultural explosion just waiting to happen.”
     
    Last time I saw Adam Sutherland – cool and cute fiddler of Treacherous Orchestra, Session A9 etc fame – he was wearing a Yes 2014 T-shirt :-)
     
    And certainly all the creative talent appears to be on one side of the debate rather than the other. 

      

  91. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    Just to try and make it easy to understand for people. The charges that we get in the UK mean that much of our pensions are siphoned off by Bankers and it doesn’t take a lot to do this.
     
    * An annual 0.5% charge takes 13% of your final pension pot compared to what you would have got with no charges at all.
    * An annual 2.5% charge takes 50% of what would have been your final pension pot.
     
    The public in the UK however only think 2% difference, not that an additional 37% of their overall pension pot will go to the bankers!
     
    Example
     
    You save £100 per month, with an investment return of 6%, and are charged 2.5%. It will take you 40 years to build a pension fund of £100k.
     
    If you were being charged 0.5% then you would only take 31 years to build that £100k pot, but if you decided to continue working up to 40 years (as above) then the extra 9 years would give you another £70k into your pension pot.
     
    Using the example above would mean that a pension saver would have a 70% higher pension pot for the same investment.

      

  92. Willie Zwigerland says:

    Scott Minto > While I don’t disagree with the point about varying level of charges, you should make clear that the Dutch pensions you mention are NOT available to the general population of the Netherlands, only to Dutch public sector workers.
    In the UK the charges you have on your private pensions can vary greatly, and are also dependent on the type of assets you invest in. UK public sector workers are usually on pensions with guaranteed benefits that are much greater value for money than a typical private pension.

      

  93. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @Willie Z
     
    But its not just Dutch Pensions, its also Danish and U.S pensions that are demonstrably cheaper and those are available to all the public.
     
    The fact that capping fees on pensions would give people a vastly superior pension when they retire seems to have been lost on you.
     
    I agree on the point of Public sector pensions however, they are the sort of deal that joe public would bite your hand off to get.
     
    However, these are the employment benefits they agreed to when they took up their jobs and as such should not be interfered with and reduced through changing the ‘terms and conditions’ before they have the chance to benefit from them.
     
    You decide to work based on what you will get back personally from that job and your pension is part of that. If you worked 20 years and then they they change your pension, you have just worked 20 years under a lie.
     
    I’m fed up with governments thinking that they can back out of any committment simply because they want to.

      

  94. HenBroon says:

    “Ah, excellent. So you admit that “independence” will bring huge additional costs in having to duplicate civil service functions which currently serve the entire UK.”

    Dear God what utterly desperate snivelling straw grasping, or is it simply the work of the Unitroll. Attention seeking, and trying and failing to disrupt the sound arguments.

    The functions of the civil,service and all the other service of central government reserved to the UK, will not be duplicated. Scotland will service its independent government using its own resources in a much more efficient way than is done in the Westminster sausage machine. So the money that Scotland is not presently receiving from its own resources due to Westminster billing us for services they alledgedly provide will accrue to Scotland and circulate in the Scottish economy, a huge benefit to Scotland. Independent government will generate jobs and capital that are presently soaked up in London. The population will increase as will the capital circulating in the Scottish economy. At present London benefits from thousands and thousands of jobs stuffed in to the city simply because they are regarded as the capital. These jobs inflate the GDP figures for the city at the expense of the other areas and country’s of the UK. That creates the mentality that caused Boris Johnston to babble that “a pound spent in London does more good to the UK than if it were spent elsewhere.” Incoherent guff.

     Adrian B says:
    24 February, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    “Hermione is clearly one of those Labour party fanboys.”

    I often wondered if that is where the nedspeak “fannybaws” comes from ?
     

      

  95. Willie Zwigerland says:

    Scott > The cap on fees in Netherlands has seen a increase in the number of scheme which reduce the levels of pensions. For instance the Dutch fund for Dutch teachers cut all benefits by 0.5% at the start of the year. 
    http://www.abp.nl/en/about-abp/press-service/abp-reduces-pensions.asp 
    (apologies if the link doesn’t work).
    At least in the UK pensions are usually protected from such cuts once they start to be paid.
    I’d also note that the lower costs in USA and Denmark are also because people are automatically enrolled into employer schemes, which helps to produce larger funds. The UK are also looking to move in this direction, which should help, thanks to the good work of Steve Webb the Lib Dem pension minister.
     

      

  96. CameronB says:

    We need to think about ways of moving away from the traditional pension system. I am approaching the big 50 and have none. This is not because I did not see the benefits of having one, but as a result of life circumstances. I am sure I am not the one one in this position, so what is to be done with use when we reach 65, 68, 73, 86, elleventyone?

      

  97. Luigi says:

    Many people are worried what their pensions will be worth by the time they retire. They are waking up to the fact that their pensions may be worthless if we remain in the UK. Now, if only the SNP can manage to reassure us that our pensions will be, in some way, secure post independence, then YES could clinch it in 2014.

      

  98. Colin Dunn says:

    Good article. However, for economic numskulls such as myself, when I’m talking to ‘maybes’ as I was over the weekend, a really simply single paragraph summary of this article (along with Scott’s other excellent facts and figures articles) would be really useful.
    Met some more ‘no’ voters on Saturday whose argument is simply “we can’t afford to be independent”. We (and Yes) need to get that information out there. The un-internet-savvy simply aren’t getting the facts.

      

  99. scottish_skier says:

    Met some more ‘no’ voters on Saturday whose argument is simply “we can’t afford to be independent”
    Read in the paper today that Moodys thinks Britain can’t afford to be independent. The markets are agreeing too; pound taking quite a tumble today.

      

  100. MajorBloodnok says:

    Met some more ‘no’ voters on Saturday whose argument is simply “we can’t afford to be independent”
     
    Someone said that to me once and I replied “What about Finland?  Exactly the same population size as Scotland and they’re doing alright – so what do they have that we don’t (apart from Independence)?”
     
    He replied airily “Natural Resources” and then stopped as he realised what he’d just said….

      

  101. Hermione says:

    My, such bile directed in my direction.
     
    Would it help if I said my “portfolio” was only £5k, and that “Hermione” is not my real name?
     
    (Hint: only one of the above is true.)
     
    Still waiting for this “peak of the capitalist cycle” to be explained. I note that the supposedly apocalyptic AAA downgrade has led to, er, not very much happening.

      

  102. douglas clark says:

    Hermoine,
     
    It is true that, well according to Yahoo!, the market rose 1.01% today.
     
    I am not at all convinced by any sort of ‘short termism’ in relation the Stock Markets. You probably have to stick with a market for around 20 odd years to see whether you were right or you were wrong. That is what pension funds appear to do.

      

  103. CameronB says:

    That was back in the day before front running and flash trading became institutionalised.

      

  104. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Hermione says: I note that the supposedly apocalyptic AAA downgrade has led to, er, not very much happening..
     
    To adapt your own words: Ah, excellent. So you admit that loss of “the AAA rating” will not bring huge additional costs to an Independent Scotland as claimed repeatedly by Better Together?
     
    Marvellous.
     
    Bile?  You wish.
     

      

  105. scottish_skier says:

    Hermione: Still waiting for this “peak of the capitalist cycle” to be explained.
    Inequality peak is what you’re after.
    Where on earth did you think the welfare state came from (for example)? 

      

  106. douglas clark says:

    CameronB,
     
    You say:
    “That was back in the day before front running and flash trading became institutionalised.”
     
    Trueish. But these are, relatively, short term interventions. If you hold onto a basket of shares, not an individual one unless you are extremely fortunate, then eventually income from the shares works.
     
    As I said, you are looking at a very long time-scale. Bit like CC ;-)

    I find people like Hermione, who exalt in a single day fluctuation to be somewhat akin to folk that tell me it’s hell of a cold today. They are both right, but their perspective is, shall we say, short term?

      

  107. CameronB says:

    @ douglas clark
    True, I do like to acknowledge that we work in four dimensions, at least. ;)

      

  108. molly says:

    No bile directed to you from me Hermione, I only commented that in my opinion, I thought your remark regarding your portfolio being up  was ,well, crass.
    Your  point, that capitalism is working fine , just highlighted our different views.
    You see it working for you.
    I see town highstreets sitting empty, companies/services/ ripping off their customers , billions being repaid, by the very people who were ripped off and no longterm strategy to address any of these problems .
    A final point, I ‘m not sure the relevance of your name  unless you ARE insinuating some kind of class thing but again as I may or may not sit here in my tax haven , conjuring up various blog names ,watching the Dow going down, I know when Scotland is Independent we will all have to live along side each other,so why not come here and discuss issues rather than try to wind folk up ?
     

      

  109. Bill says:

    Liability for War and Forces pensions would be rUK not Scotland. Wonder how much of a saving that would be?Such pensions are administered in Norcross and wouldnt require transferring to Scotland.

      

  110. Frances says:

    Hermione, your remarks only highlight how silly you are.
    There will be people of varying financial wealth who read and contribute to this site. What they all have however is a wealth of feeling that something is completely wrong in our society that only we can sort as a nation ourselves.
    There is a wealth of intelligence, a wealth of ideas and a wealth of empathy whicih sadly your contribution shows that you and your ilk lack.
    Show us your ideas, your initelligence.  Debate the issues that you seem to wish to defend unless of course you only come to spoil.

      

  111. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @Bill
     
    Sorry Bill but those forces pensions (and also the pensions of Brits living abroad and any other pension that couldnt be split administratively) would more than likely be based on a pooled resource for funding whereby those already receiving a pension before independence day 2016 have their pensions part financed by Scotland on a population percentage split i.e. 8.4% and the rest by the rUK.
     
    No one is suggesting dumping Scotlands responsibilities, only changing how we go about things after independence.
     
     

      

  112. Bill says:

    Sorry Scott, take a look at the Veterans Agency and we see a very specialist system to support ex forces, I shudder to think of the balls up a new dept would or could cause. I agree with your calculations I never considered that Scotland would be liable for my pensions – 8.4%.
    Its just that the SNP are silent on some subjects and havent responded for months to my questions.

      

  113. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    @Bill
     
    It wouldnt be a new department for existing pension holders, thats the point.
     
    Where a pension system cannot be disentangled from the UK wide version for those already within that system, then the people right throughout the UK on it before independence day will be funded by 91.6% rUK and 8.4% Scotland.
     
    After Independence day new entrants to the system will be funded by either rUK or Scotland via their own systems (which in the rUK case will just be the existing system, but just new entrants wont be part funded by Scotland).
     
    I think you are confusing the entire role of the veterans agency in supporting ex-service personnel with merely administering their pensions. Support systems that veterans recieve already exist within Scotland to service the existing ex-servicemen so once again its not starting from scratch. As far as administering the pensions go, its a function that can be accomodated into the Scottish Pensions service.

      

  114. lumilumi says:

    @majorbloodnok 25.2.2013, 2.25p
    Met some more ‘no’ voters on Saturday whose argument is simply “we can’t afford to be independent”
     
    Someone said that to me once and I replied “What about Finland?  Exactly the same population size as Scotland and they’re doing alright – so what do they have that we don’t (apart from Independence)?”
     
    He replied airily “Natural Resources” and then stopped as he realised what he’d just said….
     
    It must be all that Baltic Sea oil that’s making us do so well. ;-)
     
    The fact is that Finland has few natural resources apart from trees. Forestry and paper industries were crucial in starting Finland’s industrialisation as they also generated engineering and metal industries (machinery etc.) A hundred years later Nokia was the saviour. Now we’re waiting for the next one…
     
    Right now Finland’s most important “natural resource” is a well-educated workforce. Free state education all through university, anyone?
     
    I also think that a fairly equal society, a low level of corruption, a more democratic political system and culture than the Westminster system, transparency in public life, a fairly balanced press/media, a national consensus on social fairness and refusal to take part in offensive foreign conflicts have all contributed.
     
    Finland is by no means a perfect country, and, sadly, (economic) inequality is increasing, but considering where we started in 1917 (a poor, agrarian country of less than 3 million)… A cruel Civil War and the three wars we fought during WWII later, I don’t think we’ve done too bad.
     
    Oh, and about pensions. The system in Finland is complex, but everybody, whether they work in the public or private sector, pays compulsory pension contributions. For employees, their employers also pay (the lion’s share, actually). These contributions are high. As a self-employed person, my compulsory “pension insurance” sometimes hogs up to 30% of my income if business has been slow! In good times it’s less, maybe as little as 5% but still very substantial. However, Finns see it as state-imposed “saving for one’s old age” so there’s a general consensus for the system (though people always grumble…) Some better-earning individuals also take out private pension plans to top up their pensions.
     
    The state pension paid to everybody out of tax money is a pittance, most people rely on their “work pension” based on their compulsory pension contributions over the years. The situation isn’t too bad, yet, but it’s getting worse as the demographic is getting older and living longer, and younger generations are getting smaller. The “pension pot” (administered by private pension insurance companies but tightly regulated by the state) has been “rolling over” so each generation pays their parents’ pensions and their kids pay for their pensions… They’ve already tightened the rules on early retirement and raising the pensionable age… And this is with a system that is more robust and economically sensible than the UK system.
     
    (Sorry about the long post…)

      

  115. Bill says:

    Thanks Scott for taking trouble to respond As an ex serviceman and war vet Im concerned that we are to believe we can replicate the Veterans Agency in 18 months.
    http://www.veterans-uk.info/index.htm
     

      



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