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Debunking the Myth: Humza Yousaf’s Actual Pension Entitlement After Resignation as Scotland’s First Minister

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Does Humza Yousaf qualify for an annual £52,000 pension following his resignation?

Monday, May 13, 2024 10:27 AM, UK

When Humza Yousaf stepped down as Scotland's first minister, there was speculation about the size of his pension.

Posts on social media assert that the 39-year-old will receive an annual sum of £52,000 for life, with payments starting right away.

However, this assertion is incorrect.

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Previously, this type of pension plan was operational, but it was discontinued in 2009.

What is he going to get, and at what time?

Upon reaching the retirement age of 65, as set by the Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme, Mr. Yousaf will qualify for an annual pension of approximately £2,600 for his tenure as First Minister.

The ex-leader of the SNP is also eligible for additional pension benefits from his periods serving as an MSP and as a minister at Holyrood.

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Legislation enacted in 1999 stipulates that "individuals who have served as the first minister or presiding officer are, upon leaving their position", eligible to receive a pension.

It further stated that "the yearly pension provided by this article will amount to fifty percent of the salary."

A decade on, fresh laws were enacted, stipulating that individuals assuming the role of first minister post-2009 would no longer qualify for the previously available pension benefits.

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The premier of Scotland earns an annual salary of £176,780, although £72,196 of this sum is attributed to their role as a Member of the Scottish Parliament and would not be factored into this particular calculation.

Under the previous regulations, Mr. Yousaf would have been eligible for a pension amounting to £52,292, which represents 50% of his enhanced remuneration of £104,584 as leader.

Mr. Yousaf assumed the role of first minister on March 19, 2023, thereby exempting him from the stipulations of the prior legislation. Consequently, his pension benefits will solely reflect the duration of his tenure up until his resignation on May 7.

Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) are presented with two pension choices, allowing them to decide between contributing a larger or smaller percentage of their annual salaries.

When an MSP pays the higher contribution rate, they receive a pension that is one-fortieth of their last yearly salary. Conversely, if they opt for the lower contribution rate, their pension will be one-fiftieth of their final annual earnings.

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Mr. Yousaf, having held the position of first minister for slightly more than a year, qualifies for a pension. This pension is calculated to be either one-fortieth or one-fiftieth of £104,584, resulting in an annual pension of approximately £2,600 or £2,100, based on the choice he makes.

He is also eligible to receive a pension for his tenure as an MSP. Mr. Yousaf was first elected as a regional MSP for Glasgow in 2011 and later, in 2016, he was elected as the MSP for Glasgow Pollok, a position he continues to occupy.

Should he choose to resign now, after a 13-year tenure in Holyrood, and provided he has consistently contributed at the higher rate throughout this period, he would receive an annual pension of just below £23,500, which supplements his pension as first minister.

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Mr. Yousaf is additionally eligible for more pension benefits from his different ministerial positions.

He held the position of minister in the Scottish parliament for five years and nine months, and later as the Scottish Secretary of State for an additional four years and nine months. Together, these roles qualify Mr. Yousaf for an additional pension of slightly more than £7,200.

Based on existing data and assuming he has consistently paid the maximum rate throughout his tenure as an MSP, Mr. Yousaf is set to receive approximately £33,300 annually in pension benefits upon retirement at age 65 or later.

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