August 29, 2011

UK: 100,000 older workers forced to retire early

LONDON, England / The Telegraph / News / August 29, 2011

Tens of thousands of older workers face an enforced early retirement with a reduced pension because of the economic slowdown, new research suggests

By James Kirkup, Political Correspondent

A think-tank has estimated that around 100,000 people over 50 who lost their jobs at the start of Britain's economic crisis are now at risk of being forced to retire earlier than they planned.

That will leave them living in retirement with a lower pension than they had hoped for, according to the Institute of Public Policy Research, which has links to the Labour Party.

Tony Dolphin, IPPR's chief economist, said: "Almost a quarter of those who have been unemployed for more than two years are over 50. The risk is that older people who have been out of work for this long stand little chance of ever working again. This means many will be forced into early retirement, which will mean a lower standard of living during their old age.”

The IPPR also estimated that the number of 18 to 24-year-olds who have been jobless for more than two years has almost trebled since 2008, from 36,000 to 95,000

Mr Dolphin said that the long-term unemployed lose skills and confidence and “could find themselves permanently shut out of the jobs market.”

Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister said the Government is working to tackle unemployment though the Work Programme, its welfare-to-work scheme.

He also insisted that ministers “have a plan for growth which will encourage businesses to expand and take on more workers."

Labour is planning to step up its attacks on the Coalition over the economy in the coming weeks.

A leaked Labour memo also suggested that senior party figures are discussing new attacks on David Cameron for shifting to the right on issues like crime and immigration. The memo, by Shaun Woodward, a shadow cabinet member, suggests that Labour should criticise Mr Cameron’s hard line on rioting youths and uncontrolled immigration. However, some Labour MPs privately fear that Mr Cameron’s stance on those issues will prove popular with voters, meaning Mr Woodward’s strategy could harm Labour.

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