General Election 2015: Nicola Sturgeon vows the SNP will block a raise of the state pension age in the UK

Billy Ehrenberg
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The SNP looks set to win considerable power at the next election (Source: Getty)

The SNP will block planned raises of the UK pension age, if it wins enough seats in the General Election to do so, Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday.

The Scottish first minister, argued Scots will be disadvantaged by the rises, as they have the lowest life expectancy in the UK.

A baby girl can expect to live 82.7 years in the UK and a baby boy 78.9 years – if mortality rates remain the same. In Scotland, however, the figures are 76.8 and 80.9. In Glasgow, while male life expectancy is just 73 years.

The state pension age is currently 65, but under plans agreed by Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, that will rise to 66 between November 2018 and October 2020, and 67 between 2034 and 2036.

These changes, said Sturgeon, will disproportionately disadvantage Scots.

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.

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.

Comparison of female and male life expectancy in selected countries, and life expectancy at age 65. The figures don't match, because the 65 figures excludes all the people who would be expected to die before that age. Scotland has the lowest life expectancy of any of the UK's constituent countries.

The SNP looks set to win considerable power at the next election, with huge gains expected at Labour’s expense. One scenario is that no party wins an outright majority and, with the Liberal Democrats depleted, the SNP will left free to play kingmaker.

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