Poll: Suffolk MP attacked over working pensioners

SUFFOLK Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey faced a fierce backlash last night over a proposal that pensioners who continue to work should pay National Insurance.

In a report published by the Free Enterprise Group Dr Coffey wrote that the extra revenue could be passed on directly to young low-paid workers in the form of a National Insurance holiday.

But the radical blueprint has angered many in the region - more than a quatert of those living in the Suffolk Coastal district are pensioners.

Last night Daphne Savage, Chief Executive of Age UK Suffolk, labelled the proposals “a kick in the teeth”.

“One of the problems with this suggestion is that many people work after retirement age simply because they cannot afford to do otherwise,” she said.

“Many people have not had the opportunity to build large pension pots to give them a realistic amount to live on, so they continue to work to support themselves and to contribute economically.

“To take away some of the earnings of people who can’t afford to retire feels like a further kick in the teeth. Also, with the normal retirement age increasing to 68 years, we need to be careful about making radical changes too quickly and wait and see how many people will be still be working past that later retirement age.”

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“There needs to be some more detailed research into why people continue to work after retirement age and how much they are earning, as I suspect that many will be lower paid workers who can ill afford to lose even a few pounds a week from their income.

“I am sure there are richer people to go after, rather than hardworking pensioners.”

Last night Dr Coffey did not return the East Anglian Daily Times’ calls but speaking to national media before the furore erupted she said: “For those who chose to continue working they are doing the same job and then get a pay rise when they turn 65.

“One of the things I have found from talking to employers is that they are not so keen to take on young people and this would make it more attractive.”

She claims the money raised could be worth an extra �375-a-year to an 18-year-old on the minimum wage of �4.98-an-hour and save their employer �450.

Dr Coffey’s ideas were put forward as part of a report called Policy Bites which included seven theories about how to stimulate growth.

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley also worked on the report but not on Dr Coffey’s section concerning National Insurance.

• What do you think? Write to us at Letters to the Editor, East Anglian Daily Times, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1AN, or email eadtletters@eadt.co.uk

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