FINANCE Secretary John Swinney has been speaking of the elderly and their "optimistic" impact on organisations, committees, charities and community groups.

Indeed, figures from Volunteer Development Scotland suggest that 30% of those aged 65-74 do some form of volunteering. Without the role of the elderly in these organisations, many would cease to exist.

It is all too easy to speak of the cost of an ageing population on public finances such as social care and health, but formal volunteering contributed an estimated £2.5 billion to the Scottish economy in 2009-10 and recent figures say that one in four people aged between 65 and 74 are still working.

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Well done to Mr Swinney for recognising the diverse role older people play and I welcome his call for a broad perspective to be taken when discussing our ageing population.

Alan Innes,

55 Queen Street,

Edinburgh.