Older Persons

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1954.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Holt Mr Arthur Holt , Bolton West 12:00 am, 27th July 1954

asked the Minister of Labour how many of his staff throughout the country during the year 1953 were compulsorily retired on reaching the age of 60 years; how many between the ages of 61 and 65 years; and how many of his present staff are over the age of 65 years.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

Seventy-three were retired on reaching 60; of these 70 were retired because they were not fully fit and efficient and three because of redundancy. Three hundred and six were retired between the ages of 61 and 65; of these 57 were not fully fit and efficient, and 249 were redundant owing to the contraction of the Department's work. Six hundred and six members of the present staff are over the age of 65.

Photo of Mr Arthur Holt Mr Arthur Holt , Bolton West

asked the Minister of Labour what instructions have been issued to his staff in connection with impressing on employers in industry the desirability of offering to continue in employment fit men and women of pensionable age.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

The staff of the Ministry have standing instructions to encourage employers to follow the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee that all men and women, irrespective of age, who can give effective service, and for whom work is available, should be allowed to continue at work if they so wish. The local employment committees, which represent employers, workpeople, and other local interests, are also giving valuable help in promoting the continued employment of older men and women.

Photo of Mr Arthur Holt Mr Arthur Holt , Bolton West

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that the advice he is giving to employers is in fact being followed in his own Department, because only recently I heard of an apparently perfectly fit employee who was a member of his staff, aged only 62, who was going round to employers encouraging them to keep on their staff after pensionable age and who, in the next week, was found to be redundant himself?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

If the hon. Gentleman will be kind enough to give me details,I will look into that matter. No doubt it was covered by the figures I gave in my previous answer.

Photo of Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke Mr Charles Fletcher-Cooke , Darwen

Do not the figures show a considerable improvement on those of two years ago when managers of labour exchanges were being retired almost automatically at the age of 60?

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Test

How can the Minister consistently encourage people to stay on in industry when in his own Department, not only in the case mentioned by the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Holt), he is preventing men who are able and willing to stay on from carrying on after the age of 61 or 62?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

That is not correct. My committee on older workers recommended that the test for employment must be that the job is there and that the man has the capacity to do it. That is the test that we apply in my Department.