Plaid Cymru's Hywel Williams MP has criticised the Chancellor's announcement that workers will be expected to work for up to five years longer in changes to the state pension revealed in today's Autumn Statement.
Mr Williams, who has campaigned extensively on pensions, said that Wales will be hit disproportionately by these changes due to lower life expectancy, and that is was perverse to reduce the job opportunities available to young people at a time when UK youth unemployment stands at a million.
Speaking after the Statement, Mr Williams said:
"Ever since assuming power the Coalition has launched an assault on workers' rights so sadly this announcement comes as no surprise.
"Wales is set to be hit disproportionately because of shorter life expectancy and a greater proportion of workers in so-called routine occupations.
"Life expectancy is up to eight years longer in parts of Southern England than it is in parts of Wales, for example Dorset (83 years for men) and Merthyr (75 years for men).
"When I asked the Pensions Minister to review this variation in life expectancy, he said a review would take place next summer. We can only assume therefore that they have brought this forward because of financial considerations.
"Wales also has more older people as a proportion of our population, so the UK Government must act so that there is reform to ensure fair funding on the basis of need.
"It simply cannot be fair that after fifty years' work in demanding, manual occupations people in Wales will now be expected to extend their working lives to 68 or 69.
"At the other end of the labour market, it is perverse to reduce the job opportunities available to young people at a time when UK youth unemployment stands at a million.
"While the Chancellor pursues his ideological goal of shrinking the welfare state and abandoning those in need, Plaid Cymru will continue to protect the vulnerable and fight these unfair proposals every step of the way."