A TORY councillor deflected criticism of his “happy” pensions statement with a bizarre string of tweets about refugees.

Phillip Charles, who sits on Glasgow City Council, provoked criticism for his reaction to calls to raise the state pension to 75 by stating that he was “quite happy” because his military service means he will get his at the age of 60.

Referring to Ministry of Defence offices in the city, the Baillieston councillor, who served with the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, said: “I’m quite happy, I’m going to get a pension at 60 from Kentigern House.”

The National:

The comment came during online discussions of a think-tank plan to increase the state pension age to 75. The suggestion comes from the Centre for Social Justice, which is headed by former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

The organisation claims this would boost the economy, but charities including Age Concern have revealed their concerns about a move that could take pension entitlement to an age some citizens will not reach.

The average life expectancy for men in Scotland’s biggest city currently stands at 71, but in some of the poorer communities, it is even lower.

When questioned about his message by fellow Twitter users, including Glasgow Southside Central councillor Mhairi Hunter, Charles, who was elected in 2017, defended the statement and declined suggestions that it should be deleted.

However, it has since been removed from the social sharing platform.

In an exchange with Hunter, he continued: “I’m happy that I will receive a Government pension from age 60.

"I’m happy for that to be on record. How are Nicola’s refugees that she agreed to take on Tv?”

The National:

Charles then went on to repeat the question about refugees three more times. He did not respond to a request for comment from The National last night.

Charles was one of the eight Tories elected in Glasgow in the 2017 elections.

Until then, the party had just one member on the local authority and the result was its best in 30 years.

The SNP and the Greens also chalked up their best ever results, with the former wrestling control of the council from Labour and ending almost 40 years of its dominance.

The state pension age is currently set to rise to 67 by 2028, increasing again to 68 by 2046.

However, the CSJ said those changes do not go far enough and it suggests shifting entitlement to 70 in 2028 and 75 by 2035.

READ MORE: Age Scotland head warns against raising state pension age

The change would affect people born between March 6, 1961 and April 5, 1977.

CSJ chief executive Andy Cook said: “Working longer has the potential to improve health and wellbeing, increase retirement savings and ensure the full functioning of public services for all.”

However, Glasgow South West MP Chris Stephens, a member of Westminster’s Work and Pensions Committee, dismissed the recommendations, saying: “This is a work- until-you-drop plan.

“They are confusing life expectancy with working life expectancy.

“Someone in a physically demanding job can’t work until 75.”