Sturgeon vows to fight retirement age rise

Nicola Sturgeon has today warned she will fight moves to increase in the state pension age in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: John Devlin

The First Minister today set out the SNP pensioners’ plan which also includes a pledge to keep the winter fuel allowance for all pensioners - despite a Labour pledge to end it for the well-off.

The state pension age is to increase to 67 under current plans, but the SNP pledged during the referendum campaign that an independent Scotland would not have to implement this.

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And the First Minister warned this should not happen in Scotland while life expectancy lags behind the UK and Europe.

“The Tory/Lib Dem government’s plan to further increase the state pension age is a worry to people across the UK who are planning for their future – but the failure to take Scotland’s specific circumstances into account is particularly unfair,” Ms Sturgeon said today.

“Our comparatively low life expectancy rate is an issue which I will do everything in my power to change – but in the meantime it would be completely unacceptable for people in Scotland who have paid in to a state pension all of their lives to lose out. That is why SNP MPs will reject any plans for a further increase in the state pension age.

“Our pensioners have contributed hugely to society, and are entitled to get a fair deal in their retirement in return.”

The First Minister visited a care home in East Dunbartonshire today as she set out SNP policies for pensioners.

They also include retention of the Triple Lock to ensure that the state pension increases every year either by inflation, in line with wages or by 2.5 per cent – whichever is higher.

There would also be a single tier pension rate of at least £160 to lift pensioners out of means tested benefits.

Labour has said it would end the winter fuel allowance of up to £400 for the most affluent 5% of pensioners. but Ms Sturgeon today pledged to “oppose any attempts” to end this benefit.