Fears have been raised that increasing numbers of people from Dumbarton and the Vale may be forced to work till they drop - and never reach retirement age.

Age Concern says accelerated increases in the State Pension age will be devastating for most Scottish people - who generally have a lower life expectancy than the rest of the UK.

The leading charity spoke out after a report from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) think-tank recommended raising the State Pension age to 70 by 2028 and to 75 by 2035 to help boost the UK economy.

It claimed that the UK is “not responding to the needs and potential” of an ageing workforce, with hundreds of thousands of people aged 50-64 deemed “economically inactive”.

Age Scotland welcomed plans to support older people who choose to stay in the workforce, but said accelerating increases in the State Pension age was not the answer as it would have a disproportionate impact on poorer Scottish people, especially women, and would plunge hundreds of thousands more into poverty.

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Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “Scotland’s life expectancy is lower than the UK average, meaning it will have a disproportionate impact.

“In many parts of the country, the average man would never reach the State Pension age of 75.

“Healthy life expectancy is considerably lower, with many workers finding it physically impossible to continue in their careers as they get older.”

More than 170,000 Scottish older people are already living in poverty, with lower paid workers and women less likely to have a private pension so have to rely solely on State handouts.

Scotland’s life expectancy stalled this year after three decades of increasing, and is now 77.0 for men and 81.1 for women.

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Brian added: “Our State Pension is already one of the lowest in the developed world, and we need to see more support for older people, not less. Older people have paid into the system throughout their working lives, and should not spend their later lives living in poverty or struggling to work despite health problems.

“Raising the State Pension age to 75 would be a retrograde step.”