MEN in Herefordshire can expect just 11 disability-free years once they reach retirement, new figures show.

Charity Age UK says vast inequalities in disability-free life expectancy across the country reflects the disproportionate impact of budget cuts on poorer areas.

Women in the county can expect 12 years without a disability, which means both sexes are above the national averages of around 10 years.

These disabilities include any long-lasting health condition or disability limiting the ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

Ahead of the state pension age rising to 66 later this year and 67 by 2028, campaigners said the data is an example of the “persistent health inequalities” faced by older people, with the poorest areas being the worst affected.

The figures are an estimate based on current mortality rates and the number of people living disability-free according to a survey on general health.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “The figures are further evidence of the persistent health inequalities experienced by older people across the country.

“The communities which we live in impact how we age, so cuts to local authorities and the Public Health Grant together with the chronic underfunding of the social care system mean that services which help older people stay well are being eroded.

“These cuts have not been evenly shared and people living in the poorest areas have been hit the hardest, leading to growing inequalities.”

But the government say the best way to increase life expectancy is to prevent health problems arising in the first place.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We’re committed to ensuring people can enjoy at least five extra years of healthy, independent life by 2035 and reducing the gap between the rich and poor.

“Our NHS Long Term Plan, backed by an extra £33.9 billion in cash terms a year by 2023-24, puts tackling health inequalities at its heart.”