Blackford says independent Scotland will be liable for pensions
Ian Blackford has said Scottish pensioners will be “looked after” by the Scottish Government if Scotland becomes independent.
Earlier this month he seemed to suggest that the UK government would continue to pay existing state pensions after a Yes vote.
The SNP Westminster had suggested Whitehall “retained an obligation” to pay out as Scots pensioners will have paid their UK national insurance and accumulated the right to a UK pension.
He told ITV Border: “You pay into a national insurance fund. Ok, the UK is then responsible for the disbursements of that, and it covers cash flow for a certain period, but that’s a right to a UK pension - there’s no ifs, there’s no buts about that,” he said.
That contradicted the 2013 white paper on independence in which said “responsibility for the payment of [the UK state] pension will transfer to the Scottish Government”.
He later said his comments had been “misrepresented".
Speaking to Sky News on Monday morning, Blackford said: "One of the things that we will do when we become independent is we will take responsibility for pensions in Scotland and we will use our taxes overseas to make sure that pensioners are looked after and of course, what we want to make sure is our pensioners get a better deal.
"We've just seen the removal of the triple lock for example so we will take our responsibilities. But of course, in these negotiations, we want to make sure that when we're talking about assets and liabilities, we will be properly compensated for the contribution that people have made in anticipation of a pension.
"But let me be absolutely crystal clear: pensions in Scotland will be the responsibility of the Scottish Government.
"We will look after our pensioners."
Last week, Guy Opperman, the UK pensions minister, accused the SNP of misleading voters over pensions.
He said: “If Scotland chooses to become a foreign country, then working English, Welsh and Northern Irish taxpayers should not pay for a foreign country’s pension liabilities. That has been the position of the UK Government since before the 2014 referendum. Nicola Sturgeon and Ian Blackford are, once again, misleading Scots.”