South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has revealed that UK Tory Government plans to raise the state pension age to 68 will impact on nearly 20,000 people across the two UK Parliamentary seats of Dumfries and Galloway and Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

In total 18,500 people in the two constituencies held by Conservative MPs Alistair Jack and David Mundell will miss out after the announcement by the UK Government that the pension age is due to rise.

The figures come from analysis by the House of Commons Library which reveals that in total 611,000 Scots will lose out as a result of the Tories decision to raise the age earlier than planned.

The change will affect all men and women currently between the age of 39 and 47, who will be forced to work and pay National Insurance contributions for at least a year longer than originally planned by the Conservative Government, before they can access their state pension entitlement.

The Tories’ failed to reveal their plans to bring forward the state pension age in their recent election manifesto, evading debate on the issue leading up to polling day.

Labour has pledged to leave the planned state pension age at 66 while we review the evidence emerging around life expectancy.

South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “This is yet another disgraceful and unjustified attack on the state pension by the Tory Government, which is asking thousands of people locally to work longer to pay for its failing austerity plans.  I don’t think it is fair that the people of Dumfries and Galloway should have to bear the brunt of the Conservative Government’s mismanagement of the economy.”

“This proposal was not in the recent Conservative manifesto and Tory MPs David Mundell and Alistair Jack have no mandate whatsoever to impose this on local people. It shows a complete lack of transparency and respect by them.  In Dumfries and Galloway this will affect around 1 in 10 people as we have an aging population and have a lower percentage of working age people”.

“It’s all very well for people like Mr Mundell and Mr Jack whose jobs are far from physically demanding and who won’t have to rely on the state pension anyway. But if you are a manual worker on a low income working until you are 68 before you get what could be your only income as a pensioner is simply unfair”

“That’s why Labour wants to take a measured approach, leaving the state pension age at 66 by this date while we review the evidence emerging around life expectancy and healthy life expectancy, considering how we can best protect those doing demanding jobs and the contributions they have already made.”

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