Gordon Brown has no credibilty when it comes to pensions

LAST week Gordon Brown made his first speech in Scotland as part of the Better Together campaign.

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His speech on pensions was meant to re-launch the Better Together campaign as a positive movement, but his contribution simply continued Better Together's negativity and scaremongering, as well as being repetitive and lacking in credibility.

The former Labour Prime Minister simply repeated claims made by former UK Government minister Michael Moore in September 2011 and by Tory Leader Ruth Davidson in February 2012. It is also surprising that Brown was chosen to speak about pensions, given his own record on pensions as Chancellor and Prime Minister.

The 1979 Conservative Government reduced the long term value of the State Pension when it abolished the link between the State Pension and earnings.

As Chancellor and then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown did not restore this link.

Brown introduced the notorious "pension stealth tax" which reduced the value of retirement funds by at least £100 billion.

And despite stating the Labour Government was helping the poorest pensioners, as Chancellor, Brown increased the state pension by just 75p in 2000.

With a Yes vote pensions will continue to be paid in full and on time, just as they are now. Scotland is also better placed to afford our pension costs than the UK as a whole.

Expenditure on social protection, which includes pensions, has been lower in Scotland than the UK over the past five years. In all 42% of Scottish tax revenues were spent on social protection in 2012-13, in comparison to 43% for the UK as a whole.

LAST week also marked the 21st anniversary of Diabetes UK Scotland.

Diabetes presents a health challenge for Scotland, and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that people living with diabetes have access to the best possible care by working with organisations such as Diabetes UK Scotland.

Diabetes UK Scotland estimate that 4.4% of Glasgow's population have diabetes, which amounts to 54,470 members of the public, however there more than 10,000 more people in Glasgow who have diabetes but have not been diagnosed.

The information and support Diabetes UK provide to these people in Glasgow plays an important role in helping people live with the condition.

Diabetes UK Scotland also works with people from minority ethnic communities in Glasgow, who are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

By raising awareness in BME communities about diabetes, how to support family members with diabetes and reducing the risk of others developing diabetes, the organisation undertakes valuable work.

ONE of my favourite parts of my job is visiting schools and talking to young people, and I was delighted to visit Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow's East End on Friday.

I spoke to the school's Young Reporters group about the independence referendum and what it would mean for them, and I was impressed by the quality of their questions and how interested they were.Scotland's future looks bright with young people like them in our schools.

Local government

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