Treasury pension veto shows lack of respect

Moves by the Westminster Treasury to limit the Scottish Government’s ability to negotiate public sector pension agreements with half a million people in Scotland have been described by the SNP as yet another reason why decisions should be made in Scotland and challenged the Labour party to explain why they prefer a Tory-led Westminster government to retain a veto over public sector pension negotiations.

A statement by the Scottish Government yesterday reveals that the UK Treasury intends to give itself a veto over any changes to public sector pensions in Scotland thus removing the ability of the Scottish Government to find a Scottish approach for public sector workers in Scotland.

Additionally, the Westminster Treasury has indicated it will legislate on setting retirement ages and will not guarantee to make legal changes that may be required following Scottish Government negotiations. The Westminster Treasury’s requirements will also prevent local government in Scotland from being free to negotiate their own pension agreements with their employees.

Commenting, SNP MSP Kevin Stewart, who sits on the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, said:

“The Westminster Treasury has a strange view of devolution if they believe it should involve them holding a veto on Scottish Government negotiations.

“The Treasury’s latest actions are also a significant blow to the Tory-led, anti-independence campaign. Far from Scotland gaining the powers that people want, the Tory-led Government is now limiting the powers Scotland is already supposed to have.

“Why do the No campaign, and Labour in particular, believe decisions about negotiating Scotland’s public sector pensions should be left in the hands of a Tory-led Westminster government when we see that they do not operate on the principle of good faith.

“The Scottish Government is negotiating in good faith with the public sector workers it has responsibility for, but a Tory-led Westminster government is trying to restrict those negotiations.

“Despite their promise that the Scottish Government would have the independence to negotiate its own settlement, the Tory-led Government is now completely undermining what should be honest negotiations.

“It is completely unacceptable and shows a breath-taking lack of respect for Scotland’s public sector workers as well as an arrogance of power by Westminster politicians.”