Whitehead warns of 'growing threat to retirement age'

Her warning follows comments by Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett today and Chancellor Gordon Brown last week in support of a 'national debate' on the issue. Ms Whitehead also rejected a report by the NAPF (National Association of Pension Funds) which has recommended the creation of a 'citizens pension' which can only be claimed at the age of 69.

Ms Whitehead, who will be meeting local pensioners on Tuesday with former SNP President Winnie Ewing and SNP Depute Leader Nicola Sturgeon MSP, said:

"If we don't watch out this government will raise the retirement age. Senior Labour politicians have already admitted that they are thinking about stealing two years of people's pensions.

"That may be ok for them, with their well paid desk jobs, but it will hit many hard-working families hard.

"It is wrong to force people who have saved their entire working lives through national insurance contributions to work an extra two or four years before being able to claim their pension.

"The decision to work past the traditional age of retirement should be a voluntary one, not dictated by government.

"The government may be content to sit idly by while a 'work-till-you-drop' culture forms in regards to pensions, but the average man and woman on the street will not tolerate this.

"The people of Cathcart have an opportunity to have their voice heard on this issue. They can vote for fair pensions and no change to the retirement age by backing the SNP on Thursday."

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