Work makes Freedom

Its hard to know where to begin to comment on the bbc news story on Lord Bichard's comments about the retired.

 "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 asked the rest of the committee.

 Twitter was fairly forthcoming, a quick search of his name revealed  most comments were along the lines of "what a fool". Some merely insulted him in anger while others had actual points to make about the nature of pensions, and retirement.

Bichard says retired people should work in the community to 'earn their keep.' In other news the cost of breathing is set to rise again.
Lord Bichard needs to get real. Threatening pensioners with cuts if they don't do community work is barbaric. These ppl have done their bit!
Lord Bichard says the retired should work for their pension!! After 50 years of paying tax and NI why should they?
Lord Bichard. You sir, are a complete t**t! How dare you suggest pensioners work for their pension? THEY DID THAT ALREADY!!!
Ha, politics today: "Retired people? They could be forced to work." Next week: children are pretty lazy, right?
It was frustrating to think that while he himself is retired (with both an enormous pension which he began drawing at 53,and a well paid job; peers can claim up to £300 a day tax free) he seemed of the opinion that most retired people sit at home, or in a leafy park drinking gin, cocktails or tea, while contemplating their navels. The reality seems to be that most retired people are either too ill to do much at all, or are working pretty hard already.

A quick glance shows that many volunteer posts are already held by retired people. From the staff at the hospital WRVS cafe, the charity shop, the school governors, to the WI, the scout leaders and guide helpers (though even guiding has a retirement age)

A great many retired people are unpaid carers for an ill or older spouse, or a carer for grandchildren so that their own children can work.

Many retired people have worked hard and still help out, they are not forced to, they do it because most people are basically good. If you make someone volunteer "by incentives such as losing pension" (that has been paid for!) It is no longer volunteering, it's work.

 I was raging pretty much all day yesterday and today my rage has settled to a gentle simmer - and a mild disbelief that anyone can think that someone that has paid into a pension via taxes all their life, that finally has the chance to stop working (as YES as was pointed out - even if a retired person DOES sit in the garden all day sipping tea, why not! that's what retirement is for) should be forced to continue. Coupled with the fact that the young people in this country are struggling to find work, and that he is suggesting (as Cameron has in the past) that doing voluntary work should be compulsory(!) this idea is so bizarre and strange I almost feel I must have dreamed it.

Please add your rant below (really I want rants!) I'm so angry my powers of ranting are seriously affected.


  1. "by incentives such as losing pension" - surely that's not an incentive, it's a threat?!

    There's just so much wrong with this entire idea, from the proposal of it by a man who clearly has no idea of the realities of life when you're not paid £300 a day tax free to the entire concept of being made to work "voluntarily" in order to get a pension you've already paid for.

    Just writing the above sentence has made me seethe again. How can work be "voluntary" if you have to do it to get something you need?

    I honestly have no idea what you could say to this man to explain how wrong this idea is as he's clearly not even in the same universe as the rest of us...

  2. If the government want people to volunteer (which as you say many already want to) they shouldn't make it so hard.

    As a SAHM I haven't worked in a few years (not got a recent P60) and I can't drive - which it turns out means I'm struggling to prove my identity for a CRB check in order to volunteer. The same would go for the retired and disabled. All people who might be willing to volunteer and who can't because the government have silly rules about the combination of things you can use to prove your identity.

    Options to me for being a volunteer would be 1) get a job to get a P60 and then I wouldn't have time to volunteer or 2) apply for a firearms licence!

    Do we really want all retired people owning guns?

  3. I'm not going to rant any more, but just a point about the guiding retirement age - you can then become a member of the Trefoild Guild, and continue to volunteer! My mum does every first Tuesday at the local guide shop which is almost entirely staffed by retired Trefoil Guidlers.

  4. It is scandalous, verging on heartbreaking, that you work hard all your life, pay your way, make a good home for yourself, and then when you retire you are expected to give it all back, and end your days in cold and misery because you can't afford to put heating on.

    My parents retired at 50/52 because they had spent 30 years serving the people of Northern Ireland whilst trying not to get blown up by the IRA and felt they'd earned the break. They volunteer/do part time work because they want to, not because they feel their 60 years combined service in the police wasn't enough.

    It makes my blood boil to hear yer man say that old people need to "contribute" as though they haven't already, same when I hear privately educated MPs who were put through uni by their rich parents harping on about the "something for nothing" culture. Grrrr. Feckin eejits.

  5. I read a great article online today - can't remember where now, about how, instead of handing out billions to banks and other wankers, all people over fifty ought to be given £1,000,000 to retire - the only conditions would be that they
    a) give up their jobs, thereby freeing up a massive number of jobs for younger folk
    b) have to buy a house - thereby freeing up large numbers of social housing for younger folk and solving the housing crisis
    c) have to buy a car, and giving a huge boost to the manufacturing community.
    They would also have the means to concentrate on making sure their children are properly brought up, well educated, go to college, uni etc and also have the wherewithal to pay for their own care in the future, if needed, in the future.

    It may be flippant, but if people were given the opportunity to retire and leave their jobs EARLIER - and with the means to do so comfortably, not only would they be able to enjoy gardening, cocktails and whatever else floats their boat, as they should be able to, but would help with so many other aspects too.

    This idiot who said this needs to go live in a council house, on a basic pension for a few months and see how he copes, and whether he'd have the energy to go out and find a job, or volunteer.

    Volunteering is all very well, but as someone who runs a small charity, we actually don't have the resources to support loads of volunteers - so they aren't necessarily the answer.