UPDATE Suffolk Coastal MP explains reasons for proposal that pensioners who work should pay National Insurance

SUFFOLK Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey is facing a fierce backlash 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.

She told the Journal: 'I have put forward a suggestion that people who work should pay the same payroll taxes, even if they are over 65. I do not see why Dennis Skinner MP or Sir Peter Tapsell MP should have a higher take-home pay than me or most of my colleagues just because of their age. We could then use the benefit of this to help young low paid workers.'

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

Dr Coffey has also upset some Conservative colleagues with one MP labelling the proposals in the report 'flabbergasting' and adding: 'It is astonishing considering the demographic she is supposed to be working for and I also don't think it is representative of the government position.'

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.

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'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.

'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 hard-working pensioners.'

The news comes as a double blow to the over-65s as key David Cameron ally MP Nick Boles also announced he would like to scrap universal benefits for better-off pensioners.

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.

? What do you think? Write to Postbox, The Journal, 147, London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email max.bennett@archant.co.uk

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