This week's opinion column sees Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O'Hara offer his reaction to a think-tank's controversial proposal to raise the UK state pension age to 75...

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It seems that we could all be forced to work until we drop if an influential Conservative think-tank gets its way.

The rather inappropriately named Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), which was founded by the former work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith MP - has proposed the UK’s state pension age should rise to 75 over the next 16 years.

And while it’s important to point out that this isn’t official Tory policy, given the influence the CSJ has, it may be reasonable to assume that moves are afoot in Conservative HQ to make us all work well into our eighth decade before we see any of the money we have contributed over an already extended working life.

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And while the thought of having to work until we’re 75 may be shocking – particularly when you consider that boys born in Glasgow today have a life expectancy of just over 73 years – are we really surprised?

Pensioner poverty has been continually ignored by the UK governments for far too long. From the burning injustices facing the WASPI women who have been denied the right to their state pension, to the stripping away of pension credit for over-75s, this Tory government’s attitude towards its older people is shameful.

British basic pensions are already uniquely low – just 16 per cent of average earnings – compared with those of other developed nations, leaving many older people, particularly those who rely on the state pension, really struggling to make ends meet.

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New research shows the proportion of elderly people living in severe poverty in the UK is five times greater than it was 30 years ago. And that figure is the largest increase in pensioner poverty in any western European country.

The UK’s pensioners have been treated appallingly by successive governments and this latest proposal, should it ever come to pass, will be a further attack on the well-being of those who have worked all their days and have maintained their part of the deal by contributing to their state pension from their salaries.

It is not acceptable for the Tories to rewrite the rules now and renege on their part of this contract. Because working until we drop is no way to live.