A WASPI woman has slammed the UK Government's plans to raise the retirement age to 68, as other critics pointed out there is "no justification" for the move. 

It emerged on Tuesday that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt could make an announcement during the March Budget to extend the pension age limit by the 2030s, moving the timescale forward by a decade.

It means those born after 1970 would expect to work until they are aged 68, but many campaigners and critics have said this isn’t feasible. Even pension analysts have pointed to the fact that many older people may not be “well enough” to work into their late 60s.

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Lorna Ross, a member of Fife pensioners for independence, said that many older WASPI women like herself are still suffering the consequences of the UK Government “stealing their pensions”.

The Women Against State Pension Equality (WASPI) campaign represented women born in the 1950s who saw their state pension age rise from 60 to 65 in line with men, then up to 66, with many stating they had not been informed of the change, and plunging many into debt.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has said that “no decision” had been taken yet on raising the retirement age after reports emerged in The Sun newspaper.

The state pension age is already due to rise from 66 to 67 in 2028, while the increase to 68 was not due to happen until 2046. The plans to hike the retirement age to boost the Treasury’s coffers could be brought in as soon as 2035. 

The SNP said the hike would be “scandalous” and that it was yet another attack by Westminster Tories on pension pots.

The National: The UK Government are reportedly considering raising the retirement age to 68The UK Government are reportedly considering raising the retirement age to 68 (Image: Own Your Space)

Ross said that as a Waspi woman she was not surprised by the move by the UK Government, and had been expecting it.

The 69-year-old said she could cite “numerous” examples of pensioners who are “highly stressed” over their low pensions, having to use food banks, and facing the twin cost-of-living and energy crises.

She said: “If I was working in a care home being rushed off my feet all day every day, I'm 69 now, nearly 70, my hip replacement has been delayed for nearly a year, I'm struggling just to walk around the corner. How would I get on if I was still expected to work and my hip was bad?”

Ross said she would have struggled to work at aged 68, and has concerns that raising the pension age includes jobs with manual labour.

She added: “Maybe if you were sitting down at a desk followed by a long boozy lunch and an early finish. They’ve never worked in a physical job past the age of 60.”

Mary McCabe, co-convener of Pensioners for Independence, added: “It’s not about affordability, the UK Government spends money on what they want and pensions are clearly not a priority for them.”

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Simon Watson, Unison regional organiser, said that workers “deserve a fair deal” and that the UK Government is not offering one by extending the age.

He added: “Life expectancy is no longer increasing, so there is no justification for raising the pension age.

“Low paid public service workers are getting ill at work because their bodies are worn out, but they can't afford to stop.

“We are building a system where the rich can retire early and take up travel and hobbies, while the poor must work until they are exhausted.”

Charities condemn move

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said the charity also sees no justification for raising the retirement age.

She added: “Especially as we know that the people who will lose out the most are those unable to work due to ill health and caring responsibilities, as well as anyone who becomes unemployed in mid-life and then finds it impossible to get another job, due in part to a lack of training opportunities as well as rampant ageism in the labour market.

The National: According to reports Hunt will make the announcement during the March budgetAccording to reports Hunt will make the announcement during the March budget

“As things stand, any decision by the Government to make today’s 50-somethings wait longer for their state pension will consign hundreds of thousands of people to a difficult and impoverished later life.”

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that the UK Government will have to face the prospect that many people will not be well enough to work at age 68.

She said: “Added to this, rapid increases in state pension age have disrupted people’s financial planning.

“With the debate around the triple lock continuing to rage we need to have a proper thorough review of state pension to give people more certainty over how and when it is paid so they can plan ahead.”

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Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens social security spokesperson, said it was an attack on “millions of ordinary people” who depend on their state pension to survive.

She said: “It is yet another sign of how the UK government is working to undermine social security and the wellbeing of our society.

"People who receive pensions have worked for decades and should be rewarded and supported through their retirement. UK pensions are already among the worst in Europe, and this will only compound the problem.

"In 2014 we were all told that the best way to secure our pensions was to vote against independence. It was yet another untruth from a government prepared to deceive and scaremonger to get its way.”

A DWP spokesperson said the Government is required by law to review the pension age.

“No decision has been taken on changes to the state pension age,” they added.