A Southampton peer has sparked anger by suggesting retired people do community work in return for their pensions.

Lord Bichard, who was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Southampton, said "imaginative" ideas were needed to avoid older people becoming "a burden on the state".

During a meeting of a committee investigating the impact of the ageing society, he said: "Are there ways in which we could use incentives to encourage older people, if not to be in full time work, to be making a contribution?

"It is quite possible, for example, to envisage a world where civil society is making a greater contribution to the care of the very old, and older people who are not very old could be making a useful contribution to civil society in that respect, if they were given some incentive or some recognition for doing so."

He added: "Are we using all of the incentives at our disposal to encourage older people not just to be a negative burden on the state but actually be a positive part of society?"