Labour warns SNP plans to hand Scotland power over setting the state pension age north of the border risks destabilising the system.
The state pension age currently stands at 65 and applies across the UK. Under plans outlined by the Coalition Government this will rise to 66 between 2018 and 2020, before eventually hitting 67 in 2028.
Future increases will be linked to life expectancy and based on the principle that people should be able to spend about one-third of their adult life in retirement.
The SNP, which is expected to win huge numbers of seats north of the border following a collapse in support for Labour, is pushing for Scotland to be handed greater autonomy over setting its state pension age.
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon says: “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.”
However, Labour shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont says: “This is the economics of fantasy – the SNP are trying to have their cake and eat it.
“The state pension is simply a guaranteed payment. Guarantees are only as strong as the institution backing it and that means small nations are more exposed to financial headwinds.
“Once again the SNP’s sums just don’t add up. Ultimately fiscal autonomy will create a more volatile pensions system.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, average life expectancy in the UK as a whole between 2010 and 2012 was 78.9 years for men and 82.7 years for women. In Scotland, however, the figure was just 76.6 years for men and 80.8 years for women.
In December 2013, Labour peers urged the Government to consider varying the state pension age based on the types of job people have held and where they live.