'Scrap plans to raise state pension age to 68,' UK Government urged

Campaigners have warned many people won't make it to 68 to see their state pension if current plans go ahead.

Scrap plans to raise state pension age to 68, UK Government urged at Edinburgh protest STV News

Protesters gathered outside the UK Government’s Edinburgh hub on Tuesday to demand plans to raise the state pension age to 68 are scrapped.

The demonstrators attempted to hand officials at the Queen Elizabeth House a petition signed by 33,000 people backing their calls but nobody would open the doors to accept it.

Those in attendance at the rally – which was organised by the Scottish Pensioners Forum and Unite the Union’s retired members group – repeatedly shouted “shame” at those in the Government building as they refused to take the papers.

The state pension age is set to be raised to 67 between 2026-2028 and then to 68 between 2044 and 2046.

In March, work and pensions secretary Mel Stride said a review to reconsider plans to raise the state pension age to 68 will take place two years after the next General Election, expected in 2024.

Rosie Dickson, a member of WASPI Scotland and Unite’s retired members group said the UK Government “keeps moving the goalpost”.

She told STV News: “I’m a WASPI woman and when I started work at the age of 15 I expected to get my state pension at 60. It was then delayed to 65 and then 66.

“So people in their 50s, it’s gone up to 66, people born in the 70s it’s gone up to 67 and now they’re proposing 68. Healthy life experience is only 64.”

She added: “The finishing line keeps moving and what they’re hoping for is that a lot of people just don’t reach that finishing line and unfortunately that’s true for too many people.”

Rose Jackson, chair of the Scottish Pensioners Forum, said the rise in the pension age doesn’t make sense as life expectancy in the UK falls.

“We are here today to try and hand in our petition to the UK Government’s office in Edinburgh,” she said.

“No one will open the door to take the petition from us. We are fighting for the young people coming along.

“The Government wants to hike the age to 68 which we are saying is too late.

“There are so many people who will never reach 68.

“Life expectancy has dropped over the years so I don’t know see why the Government wants to do that.

“It’s the fact you pay in from the day you start working and if you pay into a bank you expect a return. That’s what we are doing.”

Irene Graham, a member of Unite the Union, said the policy would have a big impact on those from poorer areas, who have a lower life expectancy than richer areas.

“The only people it benefits is the Government saving money,” she said. “It doesn’t benefit the people in receipt of state pensions.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We are committed to supporting pensioners and the full rate of the New State Pension is more than £10,000 per year for the very first time, while the Basic State Penson is over £3,050 a year higher than in 2010.

“The UK Government remains committed to the principle of providing 10 years notice of changes to State Pension State Pension age, enabling people to plan effectively for retirement.”

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