The former head of the benefits agency provoked uproar today by suggesting the retired should be encouraged to undertake community service – or have their pensions docked.
Lord Bichard said older people had to make “a more positive contribution” to reduce the burden they place on the state.He made the comments during a session of committee investigating the impact on public services of an ageing population.
Lord Bichard, 65, asked fellow members: “Are there ways in which we could use incentives to encourage older people, if not to be in full time work, to be making a contribution?”
He argued that the pension system should incentivise recipients to do more to help look after the “very old”.
Do I place a heavy burden on the state? Doubtful. I have a bus pass, but I don't use it more than once a month on average. My prescriptions? I don't get on with doctors, so tend to buy my drugs over the internet. And I don't qualify for an old age pension until 2014.
Over the years, I paid my income tax and my NI contributions. Indeed I am still paying income tax on my occupational pension.
So Lord Bichard may wish to stick his suggestions where the sun don't shine.