Scottish Independence Would Put Pensions at Risk, Alexander Says

An independent Scotland would jeopardize pensions and raise costs for companies, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander will say today as he reiterates the U.K. won’t agree to a currency union.

“A vote for independence opens the floodgates to a sea of uncertainty on currency, rates and regulation, all of which puts the value of those life savings at risk,” Alexander will tell the National Association of Pension Funds conference. “Would you want to be the first Scot to claim their pension after independence with all this risk and uncertainty?”

Alexander also will tell the audience in Edinburgh that Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and his nationalists need a Plan B on the currency because “no matter how much racket they make, it isn’t going to change,” according to extracts of his speech released in advance.

Scotland holds a referendum on independence on Sept. 18, with polls showing more voters want to stay in the U.K. than leave it, though the gap is narrowing.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne traveled to the Scottish capital on Feb. 13 to reject a currency union with an independent Scotland. Salmond said it was “bluster” and “bluffing.” Scotland needs a fair division of U.K. assets, including the pound, to accept a share of liabilities, he said.

The nationalists have accused the U.K. government of scaremongering over their plan to create Europe’s newest sovereign state on March 24, 2016.

Alexander told a committee of lawmakers in the Scottish Parliament last month that the new independent country would face a jump in borrowing costs whether it kept the pound unilaterally or set up its own currency.

Last week, Standard Life Plc, a life insurer and seller of pension products founded in Scotland in 1825, said it was preparing to shift business elsewhere should independence increase risks. Some 91 percent of pensions sold by Scottish companies were to non-Scots, according to Alexander today.

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