“Hey Norman Tebbit…I’m on my bike.”

It was in 1981 when the former Conservative ‘Chingford skinhead’, Norman Tebbit, responding to a suggestion that the then rioting was caused by unemployment, said:

“I grew up in the 1930s with an unemployed father. He did not riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and went on looking until he found it.”

It is difficult to identify any similarities in either looks or style between his (now) Lordship and Jill Kirby, the respected Director of the Centre for Policy Studies.

And yet, in a funny way, Jill Kirby is also suggesting that we need to get on our bikes.

In an article cleverly titled ‘This retirement age needed pensioning off’, published in ‘The Times’ on 30 July 2010, the central theme, following the announcement that the compulsory retirement age is to be ended in October 2011,is captured in the following:

“A huge cultural shift is now required to change the way we think about retirement.”

We are all living longer (the average life expectancy is 78 years for men and 82 for women) and many people are, or have, failed to provide for older age. Many who were trying have been badly affected by the recession. The Government is facing crippling bills for civil service and local government retirement schemes as well as for the other public services.

What is certain is that many more people will need to work through their sixties and in to their seventies.

But, as Jill Kirby writes:

“Those who work longer also live longer”.

A good friend of mine is currently in Hammersmith hospital with lots of tubes attached to his chest. He is recovering from a triple by-pass heart operation. He retired in his early sixties, rather well off, and with homes in London, Bedfordshire and South Africa. Perhaps Jill has a point.

Simon Heffer in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ (31.7.10) also had a point of view:

“..a retirement age is an interference in the private matter of someone selling his or her labour and someone else choosing or not to buy it.”

Enterprise is often presented as the domain of the young or the way outs in Silicon Valley. Dragon Peter Jones wants to teach kids to be entrepreneurs.

But need is a great driver and here is a suggestion to ignite ‘Enterprise Britain’ and help alleviate the pensions issue.

To encourage the over 50s to start their own businesses provide tax free grants of up to £5,000, if matched by £15,000 of the applicant’s own funds, and allow 50% of profits up to £50,000 (i.e. £25,000) to be paid into a modified SIPP for up to ten years, thus creating a pension pot of potentially £250,000. Business owners would also be eligible for entrepreneur’s relief, subject to certain conditions, i.e. their tax on a sale of up to £5m will be 10%.

This type in incentive could ignite Enterprise Britain and allow many 50 and 60 year olds to regain their self respect.

We, in our sixties, Lord Tebbit, are on our bikes. Let’s encourage others to join us with a visionary, tax-based, pension focused, entrepreneur’s scheme.

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