Britain’s workforce should keep working until they are no longer physically able to do so, according to former cabinet minister David Blunkett.
In a speech to the Counsel and Care charity in London, he said people should stop assuming that the Government had “prime responsibility” for supporting them through “the ever increasing years of retirement”.
The former Work and Pensions Secretary said people should be prepared to use equity release schemes to pay for their care in retirement, rather than protecting the value of their inheritances to their families.
Mr Blunkett said that he believed that carrying on in “work activity”, whether full-time or part-time, for as long as possible should form part of the “social care agenda” for the future.
He said: “My presumption is this. That all of us, every one of us who is capable of doing so, should aspire to continue with some meaningful activity to the point of our incapacity overtaking us.
“Preferably work, of course, increasingly part-time, flexible and in many cases, very different to the work undertaken in our earlier lives. Perhaps, increasingly, volunteering – within our own family and immediate circle as well as outside. Offering what we can and receiving from others what we cannot.”
Mr Blunkett also warned that with a doubling of the population over the age of 80, new ways would have to be found to fund the care of the elderly.
With £700 billion tied up in home ownership by the retired, he said that equity release schemes could alleviate the need for people to sell up or enter residential care by providing the cash to pay for care in their homes.
He said: “In our endeavour to protect people’s inheritance, have we not made enough of, and are we not clear enough about, the release of equity from the enormous home ownership that exists in Britain and the divide of those with and without assets which this trend has accelerated?”
“In my view, and I am open to persuasion, we should be looking to reinforce the responsibility and capability of the family and the immediate community to continue helping themselves.”
By Lucy Cockcroft
Last Updated: 7:54AM BST 05 Sep 2008
Source: The Telegraph