Jeane Freeman has accused the UK Government’s approach to elderly people and pensions as “cruel and callous”.

The MSP’s comments come amid concerns that the state pension age could rise to 75.

But Conservative MSP Brian Whittle hit back at the SNP member and accused her of either failing to “pay attention to detail” or “misinterpreting” information “for political gain”.

Ms Freeman warned against increasing the state pension age and said that any further increases in it could have a hugely disproportionate impact on Scotland due to its unique demographic needs.

The MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley also called on the government to heed warnings raised in a new report. The report, from Age Scotland, warned that increasing the state pension age to 75 will mean many Scots will “never retire”.

It also highlights that it was reported last year that the UK has the worst pension scheme in the developed world, receiving just 29 per cent of a working wage when they retire. To put this into perspective, the OECD average is 63 per cent and the average for EU member states is 71 per cent.

Ms Freeman said: “The Tory Government’s approach to the UK’s elderly population and state pension policy has been cruel and callous.

“From the burning injustices facing the WASPI women who have been denied the right to their state pension, to the stripping away of free TV licences for the over 75s, this government’s attitude towards its older people is shameful.

“Instead of taking on board policies written up by one of the architects of Tory austerity, the new Prime Minister must take action to address the dire levels of pensioner poverty in the UK.

“The Tory government must take a step back and tackle these injustices - rather than ramping up the threats.”

South Scotland MSP Brian Whittle said: “As Jeane Freeman well knows, this was the proposal of an independent think tank, and nothing to do with the UK Government.

“Either Jeane Freeman isn’t bothering to pay attention to the detail, or she’s deliberately misinterpreting this for political gain.”