People of Arran hit by Tory pension age hike

Tory plans to raise the state pension age to 68 from 2037, seven years earlier than planned, will affect up to 500 people on Arran it has been revealed.

Figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) show that 13,999 men and women born between 6 April 1970 and 5 April 1978 and living in North Ayrshire will now be forced to wait a year longer to get their state pension, after the UK Tory Government announced it would bring forward an increase in the state pension age, which wasn’t due until 2044. Around 500 of those affected live on Arran.

There was no mention of such a change in the Tory Manifesto at last month’s UK General Election and the announcement was sneaked out just before the Westminster summer recess.

North Ayrshire & Arran MP Patricia Gibson said:

“With around 500 islanders impacted negatively by this change, it is truly shameful that Theresa May MP and Ruth Davidson MSP kept this under wraps until after the election, fearing it would lose them votes and seats.

“A great number of people in their late 30s and 40s will already be planning for their retirement; the fact that they will be forced to wait another year for their state pension is a major blow. The Tories must urgently reconsider this decision.

“Meanwhile, the SNP will continue to call for the establishment of an independent Savings and Pensions Commission to responsibly consider pension policies to ensure they are fit for purpose and take into account Scotland’s demographic needs.”

The UK Tory Government argument, that the changes reflect growing life expectancy have been questioned by former government health adviser Sir Michael Marmot, who warned the trend towards longer lives was “pretty close to having ground to a halt” since 2010, after rising constantly since the Second World War.”

Richard Baker, policy and communications manager at the charity Age Scotland, added:

“In bringing forward a rise in state pension age by seven years, the UK Government is picking the pockets of people in their forties. New authoritative research has suggested that the long-term improvement in life expectancy is stalling. For people affected, their state pension may seem a lifetime away but the fact is that the change announced this week will have a real impact on them later in life.

“Repeated changes to eligibility, increases the risk that more people will struggle to plan and save adequately to maintain a decent quality of later life.”