Alastair Stewart welcomed Esther Rantzen onto GB News on Sunday to discuss issues surrounding pensions. They were debating whether or not older people can currently afford to stop working. However, Esther swiftly began encouraging people to stay in work longer, insisting there were many benefits. Later on in the programme, Alastair read out some viewers’ comments about the debate. But, he quickly jumped to the defence of Esther when one viewer hit out at the journalist.
Alastair told viewers: “Just coming up to the top of the hour and we’ll be doing emails from you later on with what I think as well.
“But, I’ve got to get some off my phone now otherwise there’ll be no room left,” he remarked.
Reading out an email, he said: “John Stevenson says, ‘Esther Rantzen endorses staying in work – Great if you flit around doing television interviews and charity work.’
“Ouch, that’s not really fair!” Alastair exclaimed, coming to Esther’s defence.
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He continued to read the rest of the email: “‘Bad if you’re chained to a desk in a warehouse. Pension money was paid in good faith for a fair pension on retirement. The government should honour this commitment’.
“Also, another interesting one which I didn’t mention in my overall lead in but historically it does matter.
“‘One thing that you’re missing is that the lovely Gordon Brown ruined private sector pensions many years ago’,” he read.
The viewer comments had come flying in after he interviewed Esther earlier on in the show.
She said: “It gives you a sense of achievement, it probably gives you a team to communicate with on a regular basis, it can be quite fun.
“So, I think that to deny older people a chance of working on into later life is quite cruel,” she added.
Esther’s comments also received some backlash on social media, with GB News viewers taking to Twitter to share their thoughts.
“People who work in an office may well be fine with working into old age. People with manual, physically demanding jobs deserve the chance to enjoy retirement before they drop dead through over-exertion,” @SnakespearesS wrote.
“The debate should be about having a choice. Stop pushing state retirement age up and up. Allow people to rest for their senior years and let the ones who prefer to work to do so,” @GaryGri13102054 commented.
“To deny people the right to retire at 60/65 is EXTREMELY CRUEL never mind people who want to work,” @doug6668 fumed.
@happyness32q added: “You have to give youngsters a chance. Older people are slower and can cost companies money.
GB News kicks off with the Great British Breakfast on weekdays at 6am.