Local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has hit out at the UK government over proposals to increase the state pension age to 75, warning that it would have dire consequences for pensioners in West Dunbartonshire and across Scotland.
It has been reported that the Tory UK government is considering raising the state pension age to 75 over the next 16 years, following recommendations by the Centre for Social Justice – a thinktank led by former Tory Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith who is a close ally of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said that the UK already has the worst state pension in the developed world, voicing concerns that people in Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven would be forced to “work till they drop” if plans to further raise the state pension age go ahead.
The move comes as a new report has found that the proportion of elderly people living in severe poverty in the UK is five times what it was in 1986 – the largest increase among western European countries.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“This is just the latest example of the UK government’s blatant disregard for the needs of Scotland’s pensioners.
“Having scrapped free TV licences for the over-75s, scaled back entitlement to pension credit and robbed the WASPI women of their state pensions – it’s no surprise to see reports that the UK’s elderly are suffering from severe poverty more than any other country in Western Europe.
“But it seems the Tories aren’t just content with the UK having the worst state pension in the developed world – they now want to force our pensioners to work till they drop by raising the pension age to 75. An age that due to health and wealth inequalities many people in our communities will sadly never reach.
“These proposals would have dire consequences for disadvantaged communities across the country, resulting in many older people in areas such as West Dunbartonshire never getting the chance to retire.
“In 2014 we were promised safe and secure pensions by remaining part of the UK. Far from being ‘Better Together’, it’s clearer than ever that Westminster can’t be trusted to deliver for Scotland’s pensioners.”