Peer suggests OAPs should work for their pension

| November 5, 2012
Peer suggests OAPs should work for their pension

Lord Bichard, who sits on the Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change, has caused controversy by suggesting that older people are a “burden on the state”.

He suggested that pensioners should have to do community work in order to receive their full state pension.

Speaking to the committee he said: “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?

“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.”

His suggestion has been criticised as “social engineering” by Dr Ros Altmann of Saga, while Jackie Anderson of Age UK said that the added stress could lead to an “early demise” for some elderly people.

Lord Bichard is a former head of the Benefits Agency and has also held a leading role in the Education Department.

Meanwhile, a Government report into the care of elderly people suggests that a proposed cap of £35,000 on nursing home costs is unlikely to be introduced.

Capping the maximum amount that people have to pay towards a nursing home at £35,000 was one of the recommendations made following an official review of the social care system in 2011.

Initially, the Prime Minister and Health Secretary expressed their support for the proposed cap, but a statement released last week suggests that this is no longer the case.

In a joint statement to a House of Lords committee investigating the ageing population, the Department of Health, Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Communities and Local Government said that the Government is “unable to commit” to the cap.

“At this time, the Government is committed to reducing the structural deficit, and we are unable to commit to introducing a new system.

“The Government needs to take a broad view of all priorities and pressures before coming to a final decision,” the statement said.

Failure to introduce the cap could lead to many people losing their life savings in order to fund their care in old age.

It is also expected to lead to older people having to rely more on family and friends for their care.

By 2030, the number of pensioners is expected to increase by 51 per cent and the number of people over the age of 85 is expected to more than double.

The number of disabled older people is expected to rise by 61 per cent to four million.

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