Older Workers

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Jonathan Lord Jonathan Lord Conservative, Woking

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps her Department has taken to support older workers.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The number of older people in employment is at a record high. There are now 10.6 million workers aged 50 and over in the workforce compared to 9.1 million five years ago. In 2018/19, the employment level for 50+ individuals in the Woking constituency was estimated at 19,300 (Source: Annual Population Survey, NOMIS).

To support older workers to remain and return to the labour market, the Government has removed the Default Retirement Age meaning most people can choose when to retire, and extended the right to request flexible working to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service with their employer.

We have appointed a Business Champion for Older Workers to engage and influence employers both strategically and in terms of practical advice.

In February 2017, the UK Government published “Fuller Working Lives: a partnership approach” to set out the role employers, individuals and Government can play in supporting fuller working lives. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/587654/fuller-working-lives-a-partnership-approach.pdf

And in February this year, DWP launched an online web page which brings together money, job and health elements of the mid-life MOT. https://www.yourpension.gov.uk/mid-life-mot/

To support employers, Business in The Community has also created MOT guides that support businesses. https://age.bitc.org.uk/tools-impact-stories/toolkits

For people who simply can’t work, our welfare system will continue to provide a strong safety net, as it does for people of all ages now. We will spend £55 billion [£55.4bn] this year (2019/20) on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions. This is around 2.5% of GDP, and over 6% of government spending, and as a share of GDP, the UK’s public spending is second highest in the G7, bar Germany [OECD 2015 data].

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