General Election 2015: Gordon Brown promises Scotland better pensions and benefits than rest of UK

Sarah Spickernell
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The pledge is an attempt by Labour not to lose seats to the SNP (Source: Getty)

Later today, Gordon Brown will promise to give Scots a better deal on pensions and benefits if Labour is voted in at the next general election.

Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh, the former Prime Minister is expected to say Scots will be able to top-up the normal benefits available to people across the UK, giving them a better deal than anyone else.
According to The Telegraph, Labour's new five-point welfare plan claims to maintain the security of the UK benefits system “underpinned by the pooling and sharing of resources across the UK."
It would be introduced within 100 days of electoral success and extends as far as allowing Scotland to create entirely new benefits exclusive to themselves. Referring to the benefits already available to all people in the UK, Brown will say:
“That will always be there as a minimum for people in Scotland. If you are starting a family, approaching old age or unemployed the social security of Child Benefit, the State Pension, and unemployment benefit will always be there as a minimum for Scotland."
“We will go further by ensuring that the Scottish Parliament has the power to introduce new benefits, funded from Scotland, to meet different circumstances and different choices we make in Scotland. These would be on top of the guarantee of the UK benefit and pensions system minimum.”
It marks a sharp change in Brown's stance on welfare and pensions – until now, he has been adamant that payments should be equal across all areas of the country.
But with May fast approaching, Labour is facing increasing pressure to defend itself against the threat of the popular Scottish National Party (SNP), with polls suggesting it could win a huge number of seats from Labour at the election.
Brown will say the plan is to help protect Scotland from the effects of Conservative party welfare cuts and the SNP's plan for fiscal independence.
Labour leader Ed Miliband is reportedly “relaxed” about the promise.

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