Live to collect a pension? Fat chance of that

THE news that retirement age will rise inexorably towards 70 and beyond should concern Glaswegians, because many won't live long enough to collect their pensions.

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George Osborne had already plotted a working age rise, to 66 by 2020 and 67 by 2028, but what self-respecting Tory Chancellor interrupts a tax-gathering roll?

No, now he tells us pension age will be 68 by the 2030s and 69 in the late 2040s. At that rate, if you have a baby today the wee soul will be working until they're 77.

It's predicted that fewer workers will mean a huge pension bill, because we are all living longer.

Life expectancy may indeed be rosy for Cabinet ministers cosily ensconced in leafy London suburbia, where they are expected to be counting their millions at least until they're 85.

In Glasgow, it's a terminally different story.

This city's mortality rates are easily the highest in Britain, and among the highest in Europe.

Life expectancy in the Dear Green Round The Gills Place is 71 for men and 78 for women, well below the UK average.

Delaying the state pension age by one year will supposedly save the Government £13billion. Osborne's autumn statement claimed savings to taxpayers of about £500bn over the next 50 years, with reduced pension payments and higher tax revenues as people are forced to work for longer.

You're having a laugh, George. Most men over 60 today are not in paid work and we have mass unemployment among the young, yet we're meant to believe the government of the day will be able to magic up jobs for today's kids when they reach their late 60s.

Work until you're 70? It's difficult enough finding a job in your 50s.

Three score and 10 will be a challenge even for office workers, but what about those in heavier industries? Keep digging till you drop?

Increasing the retirement age will hardly improve the prospects of the younger generation finding work, but our youngsters face other battles.

Scotland has the most unfit generation of tots and teens ever and one of the worst rates of obesity outside the Third World.

There's no evidence to suggest that trend will be reversed, and certainly not if supermarkets have anything to do with it.

Some of Britain's biggest retailers are accused of having just sabotaged the Scottish Government's efforts to tackle that obesity crisis.

Talks were supposedly scheduled to discuss restrictions on multi-buy deals that tempt customers to buy more than they need, but Tesco and others have quietly pulled the plug on that idea.

If we continue as we are, I wouldn't be surprised if those average lifespan stats peak with my own Baby Boomers generation.

We had an outdoors childhood of sport and play, with little to tempt us indoors, and home cooking instead of convenience foods or burger bars.

We were the first generation to enjoy the benefits of the NHS and we're the last able to claim the state pension at 65.

All that and we also got to experience the truly Swinging Sixties (and I can confirm there was no such commodity as free love; the best you could hope for was the lassie going Dutch).

So we're living longer than our parents, but I fear we won't be saying the same about today's kids.

ALASTAIR Darling was chosen as the acceptable face of the 'Bitter Together' campaign only because they couldn't find an acceptable Westminster Tory, that breed being extinct in Scotland.

That Union alliance has finally cracked, with senior Tories — and even some from his own Labour party — briefing against Darling's "comatose" leadership of the No campaign.

Darling revealed his brass neck, telling the Scottish Government how to run their economy when he was chancellor in the Labour Government asleep at the wheel during the worst economic crisis in UK history.

It's hard to believe Labour would contemplate handing him the purse strings again.

Well, no harder to accept than the parliamentary watchdog recommending an 11% pay rise for MPs. Yes, all in it together.

Local government

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