According to the majority of Scottish people, a second independence referendum should take place in the next five years. A new poll from Ipsos MORI for BBC Scotland found that 63 percent of people want another referendum, 34 percent within the next two years, 19 percent in two to five years, and 10 percent after the next five years. More than a third, 34 percent, are against a fresh vote.
Responding to the poll, an SNP spokesman said: “This poll shows clear and growing majority support for an independence referendum.
“Work on holding a referendum has been paused given the urgent priority of tackling the coronavirus pandemic. But ultimately Scotland’s future must and will be decided by the people who live here – not by Boris Johnson.”
Before the pandemic, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was determined to hold a second referendum this year, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly rejecting her calls.
However, because of the coronavirus pandemic gripping the world, the Scottish Government has put the campaign on hold.
A Holyrood election is due next May and if the SNP were to win an outright majority it would significantly raise the chance of a second referendum being held.
Gordon Brown’s shock Scottish independence warning revealed
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
As the future of the Union appears more uncertain than ever, unearthed reports shed light on the implications of Scottish independence on the rest of the UK.
According to a throwback report by The Telegraph, during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Scots that leaving the UK would have meant the end of the British pensions.
He argued that England, Wales and Northern Ireland would have benefitted from it, as in case of independence, they would have got the lion’s share of the pension fund.
In a keynote speech in Fife, the former Prime Minister noted pensions were the third of Alex Salmond’s “real” problems after former Chancellor George Osborne ruled out a formal deal to share the pound and ex-European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, said it would have been “difficult, if not impossible” for a separate Scotland to join the EU.
The Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence during the 2014 referendum promised that workers’ state pension entitlements would have been honoured and raised the prospect of having a lower retirement age than the UK.
However, Mr Osborne’s decision to rule out a currency union raised questions about this pledge, particularly in what currency Scots’ state pensions would have been calculated and paid.
Launching a campaign to “keep our British pensions”, Mr Brown said: “They [the separatists] haven’t answered the basic problem – you have paid into your pension, into the UK Exchequer all your lives, you’ve paid your national insurance, you’ve paid your taxes so that you have a right to a pension.
“You are expecting, quite rightly, that you will get a British pension – but if there is independence, the British pension stops, the national insurance fund that you’re paying into is broken up.
“There will be a separate Scottish national insurance fund, and the rest of the UK will have the lion’s share.”
Mr Brown also argued that the SNP’s estimates for oil revenues – which would have helped fund pensions under independence – were at odds with private documents leaked to the media.
He added: “They didn’t expect to get £6.9billion from oil, they only expect to get £4billion … far from having all these billions of resources, the SNP are exaggerating all the time.
“That difference of over two million is the equivalent of half the amount of money spent on everybody’s pension in Scotland.
“If that money is not there, how are pensions going to be afforded?”
Gregg McClymont, the former Labour’s pension spokesman
Pro-independence rally in Glasgow in 2014
He said the current system worked thanks to the pooling of risks and resources across the UK.
He explained: “We pay our national insurance and we pay our taxes so that we can pay for our pensions later. We have more needs (in Scotland) and more pensioners, therefore we get more.
“The SNP know that they have got a problem … the rising demand for pensions, set against the money that they have, means there is greater volatility in social security spending.”
Gregg McClymont, the former Labour’s pension spokesman, also said at the time: “Withdraw Scotland from the UK and Scots are withdrawn from the UK pensions system.
“The UK state pension would cease to exist in Scotland.
“The security and certainty of the UK’s pension promise would disappear overnight for Scottish pensioners and for the rest of us who have been paying into the system.”
However, Nicola Sturgeon, who at the time was Deputy First Minister, rebutted: “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 £100billion raid, and insulted our older folk with a miserly 75p increase in the state pension.
“Mr Brown’s track record means that he lacks all credibility on this subject, so it is little wonder that his speech bears little relationship with reality.”
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.
Despite the SNP’s claims to the contrary, the institute said funding the state pension in a separate Scotland would have been “more of a challenge” because there would have been fewer taxpayers for each old age pensioner.