Retirees should do charity work to earn state pension (says £120,000-a-year peer)

OAPs told: Work or lose pension

RETIRED Britons could be forced to do community work or lose some state pension if a peer gets his way.

The proposal by Lord Bichard, who has a £120,000-a-year public sector pension, has provoked fury and outrage.

The elderly should earn their pensions by doing voluntary work in their communities to avoid being a ‘burden on the state’, a retired mandarin has suggested.

Lord Bichard, formerly head of the Benefits Agency, made the controversial suggestion at a House of Lords discussion on how to meet the costs of Britain’s ageing population.

Last night his plans were branded ‘National Service for the over-60s’ by angry pensioner groups.

The cross-bench peer, a former permanent secretary at the Department for Education, retired from the civil service at just 53.

His taxpayer-funded pension is estimated to be £120,000 a year.

Lord Bichard, 65, drew a parallel between the workshy claiming unemployment benefits and retirees drawing their pensions.

He said: ‘We are now prepared to say to people who are not looking for work, if you don’t look for work you don’t get benefits.

So if you are old and you are not contributing in some way or another, maybe there is some penalty attached to that.’

He called for ‘imaginative’ ideas such as making old people care for the very old.

Lord Bichard added: ‘Are we using all of the incentives at our disposal to encourage older people not just to be a negative burden on the state but actually be a positive part of society?

‘It is quite possible, for example, to envisage a world where civil society is making a greater contribution to the care of the very old, and older people who are not very old could be making a useful contribution to civil society in that respect, if they were given some incentive or some recognition for doing so.’

He later pledged to investigate the idea further as part of his work for the Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change.

Lord Bichard, who led the inquiry into the Soham murders, said it would be difficult for politicians to sell to the public, but added: ‘So was tuition fees.’

Pensioner groups reacted with fury at the suggestion that the elderly should have to ‘earn’ their pension after a lifetime of working and contributing taxes.

Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said: ‘This amounts to little more than National Service for the over-60s and is absolutely outrageous.

‘Those who have paid their national insurance contributions for 30 or more years are entitled to receive their state pension and there should be no attempt to put further barriers in their way.

‘We already have one of the lowest state pensions in Europe and one in five older people in Britain live below the poverty line.

‘Lord Bichard’s comments are also extremely divisive – trying to pitch younger people against older people – when the truth is that the real division in our society is between rich and poor.

Frankly, Lord Bichard needs to think twice before making such silly and ill-informed remarks.’

Michelle Mitchell, director general of the charity Age UK, said: ‘Older people are a hugely positive part of society.

‘Over a third of people aged between 65 and 74 volunteer, a percentage that only drops slightly for the over-75s.

In addition, nearly a million older people provide unpaid care to family or friends, saving the state millions of pounds.’

Dr Ros Altmann, director general of Saga, added: ‘This is a very strange idea indeed.

‘Those who have retired have already made huge contributions to our society and are already the largest group of charity and community volunteers.

‘Lord Bichard’s suggestion smacks of social engineering of a dangerous kind. He seems to be suggesting that if you decide to stop working, even once you reach the age that society determines it is reasonable to stop, civil servants should assess you and decide whether you are fit to be assigned to do work that they decide you should do.’

Professor James Sefton, of Imperial College, London, a former adviser to the Treasury, appeared to back Lord Bichard.

He told the committee he could not understand why young people were not taking to the streets in protest, because they were subsidising the older generation.

He told peers: ‘I think they should be angry.

‘I think the deal they are getting is poor.’

Lord Sefton, who is also an analyst at the Swiss-owned UBS bank, said research he was carrying out at Imperial College, suggested that ‘the current generation are very heavy contributors to the public purse, whereas previous generations have benefited from the public purse’.

So what do you think?

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8 thoughts on “Retirees should do charity work to earn state pension (says £120,000-a-year peer)

  1. So what about those of us who already do Charity work and are now 75 and continuing to do so.
    What about the people who assisted with Charities whilst working full time and, paying taxes and NI from the age of 17, helping in my case with one particular Charity for over 20 years..

  2. The story dates from October 2012 and is no longer current. Even the right wing shot it down in flames.

  3. One example of how wrong thus is there are many more. Many over 60s woman working in social care facilities – in care homes, in care in the community and in housing with support establisment, who are struggling to do the work due to their own poor health. #waspi women, #backTo60 women, promised the state pension at age sixty and now are having to work an additional 6 years very hard years and who may end up having to book a place in their workplace before they get their state pension. Shame on this goverment shame on the DWP and SHAME on LORD BICHARD

  4. Nothing short of revolution is now required in this god forsaken country with its entitled low IQ demented aristocratic idiots who have no respect nor indeed gratitude for their outrageous pensions, their comfortable supremely entitled lives and absolutely no insight into humanity, the trials and difficulties therein.

  5. I am 75 and was doing charity work even before I retired. Perhaps that “silly old bugger” will let us know how he manages on £120 thousand; what charity work is he doing I would like to know. What world does he live in. It is a fact that there already old people caring for even older people.

  6. My state contributions would have generated 29,000 pounds a year in the private sector so pay us what you really owe us instead if your own overinflated pension that you do not deserve.

  7. The demented ravings of a uselect old fart. Pay him no mind. Just empty his drool cup, change his diaper and roll him off to the corner to molder away. Dotard, to borrow a term from Kim Jung UN.

  8. These “upper class” privately and university educated are OBSESSED with WORK and what people not in “gainful employment” should do – so what gives them the right when they don’t know what an honest days work is

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