NORTH Ayrshire MP Patricia Gibson has slammed Conservative moves to raise the state pension age to 68 from 2037.

Seven years earlier than planned, the changes will affect almost 14,000 people in North Ayrshire.

Figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) show that 13,999 men and women born between 6 April 1970 and 5 April 1978 and living in North Ayrshire will now be forced to wait a year longer to get their state pension.

This is after an increase in the state pension age, which wasn’t due until 2044. There was no mention of such a change in the Tory Manifesto for last month’s UK General Election and the announcement was sneaked out just before the Westminster summer recess.

North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson said: “With almost 14,000 people negatively affected by this change in North Ayrshire alone, it is truly shameful that Theresa May MP and Ruth Davidson MSP kept this under wraps until after the election, fearing it would lose them votes and seats.

“The further increase in the state pension age could have a hugely disproportionate impact on North Ayrshire, as some communities have lower life expectancy due to historic and ingrained public health challenges.

“A great number of people in their late 30s and 40s will already be planning for their retirement; the fact that they will be forced to wait another year for their state pension is a major blow.

“The Tories must urgently reconsider this decision.

“Meanwhile, the SNP will continue to call for the establishment of an independent Savings and Pensions Commission to responsibly consider pension policies to ensure they are fit for purpose and take into account Scotland’s demographic needs.”