Elderly should do community work or lose pension, said peer

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

elderlyLord Bichard, an ex-chief of the Benefits Agency, said in October 2012, and while I know that this is almost six years ago, that the elderly should get rewards and fines to make sure they are taking a more active part in the world.

While, as I have said, this is almost six years ago, attitudes of the regime in Westminster have not changed one iota. It must be remembered also that this comes from a member of the House of Lords, an elderly person who clocks in in the morning to generally sleep on the benches in the House (if that) and gets £300 for just clocking in.

The crossbench peer, who also chaired an inquiry into the murder of two Soham school girls, suggested the same tough attitude towards benefit scroungers should be taken with older people.

“Older people who are not very old could be making a very useful contribution to civil society if they were given some incentive or recognition for doing so,” he told a committee of MPs.

“We are prepared to say to people if you are not looking for work, you don't get a benefit. If you're old and you're not contributing in some way, maybe there should be some penalty attached to that. These debates never seem to take place.

“Are we using all 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?”

His remarks were condemned, and rightly so, by pensioner groups as “little more than National Service for the over-60s".

Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said: “This 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.”

All through their working life those elderly will have paid in to the social security pot in order to receive their pension and it is not a hand-out, in the same way that other social benefits are not, but something that the working person has paid in for. Thus it is his or her due and not something made out by government to be some charity from the side of government.

The attitude seems to be that if you do not work – in the way that the powers-that-be see work – then you have no right to eat. I am waiting when they are going to extend that thought to children too young to work. Maybe I best not give them any silly ideas as they have already far too many of their own.

A similar song, if not even the very same, is also being sung in countries such as Germany, and a couple of other EU nations. First of all, just like the UK, the retirement age is being raised, and it would appear almost year by year now, and then they, like in the UK, make noises that pensioners should still be productive thereafter in charity work or such so as to still contribute rather than “scrounge” from the state.

Countries, like the UK, and others, that are run by neo-liberal thought, can, with attitudes like that prevailing in the corridors of power, really no longer be seen as civilized. Those that they would like to refer to as savages – on the other hand – in may departments are much more civilized than seem to be our nations.

© 2018