What is the REAL reason more older people are working?

older-workersThe Conservative Government slipped out an insidious little press release over the weekend, claiming the number of people aged 50-65 who have found paid work has hit a record high.

Apparently, more than 8.2 million people in that age group are now in work – almost as many as those aged 25-49. The Tories are keen to claim that this is a good thing, but is it?

How much of this figure is the result of fewer people taking early retirement because they have found they cannot afford it? How much is the result of more people staying on in self-employment because they cannot afford to stop, rather than starting new employment with government help?

The figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (covering the period between April and June this year) don’t tell us much that is helpful.

They say the overall number of people in self-employment has risen by 8,000 in the last three months – but the number of employees has dropped by 54,000.

Looking at the different age groups, the difference between employees and the self-employed is not recorded, but the 50,000 more people working in the 50-64 age group is offset by a drop of 22,000 in the 34-49 age group.

Isn’t it likely that these people have simply passed the age of 50 while keeping the jobs they already had?

No figures are provided for the number of people who retired during these three months.

From what we see, it is entirely possible that the 50,000 ‘extra’ workers are entirely composed of people who have kept their current jobs, people who are self-employed and people who have decided not to retire – in the last two categories, probably because they can’t afford it!

Now look at the Conservative Government’s press release:

“The government is committed to changing perceptions of older workers amongst employers and promoting the business benefits of maintaining an age-diverse workforce.”

That’s changing perceptions of older workers – not actually putting them into work.

“These efforts are part of a wider determination to give working people across the UK the chance to get on at every stage of their life and ensure everyone has the opportunity to achieve the dignity of a job, the security of a pay cheque, and a comfortable retirement.”

Oh, the Tories are determined to give older people a chance, are they? That doesn’t mean they’re actually doing anything.

“Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann said: ‘Record numbers of older people are bringing their skills, talents and experience into the UK workplace, which is good news for people’s incomes, their future pensions, and the overall economy.'”

There’s nothing in this to suggest that the Conservative Government had a part in it.

“‘But with 735,000 vacancies in the economy today, businesses are still not making the most of the opportunities that this huge pool of talent has to offer.'”

No indeed – it seems more likely that they are continuing to ignore those opportunities, and the increased in-work figure is due to entirely different reasons.

“‘As part of our one nation approach, this government wants to see employers do even more to eradicate outdated misconceptions and age discrimination, so that employers realise the benefits when they retain, retrain and recruit staff who are over the age of 50.'”

“Wants to see.” That translates as “isn’t actually doing anything”.

The whole story stinks worse than an abandoned fish market.

It reminds This Writer of an article published here in October 2014, based on the findings of our friends at Flip Chart Fairy Tales. The conclusion was: “What we’re seeing, then, is a huge rise in the number of people who find themselves unable to retire because they won’t have enough income to support themselves.”

And the Tory press release?

Part of the philosophy of The Big Lie that the Conservative have taken back from the Nazi Party in Germany during the 1930s and 40s is the principle of staying with the lie so that, if it isn’t believed at first, constant repetition will hammer down the resistance of the masses until they accept what they are fed:

“The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

The man who said those words was Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

They could easily be applied to Baroness Altmann.

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  1. darkwii August 17, 2015 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Whilst some undoubtedly just want to carry one working and feeling useful, surely the underlying reason for the majority is that they don’t feel secure financially. Even if they are.. the perception of the older generation is that they’re not as secure as their previous generation once thought with the same funds available. e.g. quality of life for the same cost is going down.

  2. johndeee August 17, 2015 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    Well spotted and analysed, Mike.

    Ah, those (s)tory party’s insidious and relentless propaganda lies!

  3. hilary772013 August 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    My friend lost her business due to the recession, she is 59 years of age & has not found a job even after applying for many, she is well qualified & was a manager before opening her own business. Who would want to employ someone at 59? with only 6 years left of working life. The Tory’s are a joke but we all know that don’t we.

  4. hstorm August 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    With the additional worry that younger people will find it all the more difficult to find decently-paid work because of the extra competition. There *are* practical reasons, as well as moral ones, why the retirement age is where it has stood for so long.

    Nice to see someone using the correct version of the Goebbels quotation for once, by the way.

  5. moondancer August 17, 2015 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    This is true… my mother is 72 and has not retired. She has a pension and is self employed. Her state pension and private pension doesnt even begin to cover living costs, which despite what everyone may think, dont actually change when you hit retirement age. She started her business in the early 60s and like everyone else had a pension plan and paid m ore NI and tax over the years than the average person, (tax is payable a year in advance and set at what the HMRC say they expect you to earn) She cannot ever retire due to this, the tax man wont let her. Even if she scales work down she will still have to pay a high rate of tax and still have to have an accountant, and so, she keeps working. The government knew state pensions were going to be too low to live on, that is why they have raised retirement age. My mother can never retire, its as simple as that. If she wants to eat, breath and pay house hold utilities each month, then she must continue to work.

  6. jeffrey davies August 17, 2015 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    ay they been sanctioned by the cruel dwp jcp or they find their savings can no longer support them has they go back to work to make up the fraud caused by our government and banksters jeff3

  7. Tony Johnson August 17, 2015 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    As one of those in this bracket, I’ve been ‘self employed’ for the last few years since the recession. Not through choice, but through necessity. I’m now existing rather than living, on a tiny fraction of my professional salary, and looking forward to a marginal increase in income, but a great increase in security of income, when I retire next year.
    I’ve been made redundant seven times in my professional IT career, so it’s been a rocky road, but I’m very good at finding employment!
    After failing my probation period in my last professional post (30 years experience resented by an inexperienced female manager half my age), I was forced to abandon my professional career after unsuccessfully trying to find another post for 18 months.
    Ageism is alive and well in the UK, and 30 years experience now counts for little without the appropriate piece of paper to prove it. My pension is fragmented due to all those redundancies, so I have no early retirement option, and the plans I did have were scuppered by the government shifting the goalposts (or more accurately, bolting them to roller-skates and giving them repeated shoves)..
    Disraeli said there were Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics. This Government seems to have created a new class well below this of Damned Lying Statistics.

  8. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) August 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I imagine that the vast majority are already in work as the retirement age in not until 60 for women and 65 for men and I strongly suspect this as just another Tory ploy

  9. Ruby August 17, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    i have no knowledge of the reasons why this is happening and can only state my own circumstances which are a result of always putting my family first and not pursuing a career.
    I am 58 my retirement age is 66 and I have no private pension. I have spent nearly 2 years unemployed and did not have any help from JCP to get a job. I asked them for retraining, they said they couldn’t do that. I asked about college. They said ok but I would be expected to still look for work and stop my studies to take any job. They sent me on endless courses for ‘back to work skills’ and redid my CV umpteen times! Then blamed me for getting no response to my applications.
    I finally got so frustrated and angry with them I was in danger of being sanctioned (HA HA)
    So I am now self employed babysitting for my sister evenings and weekends. I cannot afford to register as childminder so she cannot claim childcare so pays me what she can afford.
    And I am finally going to University and getting myself educated, Social Sciences BA
    The future for me? If I ever get a job I will work until I am no longer able and maybe some day I won’t be as poor as I am now. But either way I am doing something to educate myself in the subject area I am passionate about and ever hopeful that my children and grandchildren will experience a fairer society than we have at present.

    • Jenny steel August 20, 2015 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      People who have degrees are fighting over bar jobs so your degree won’t make any difference.

  10. fathomie August 17, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    There is of course another reason (for which we have to thank the Tories) for the older generation not retiring. During the great scam period that was the 1980’s, a lot of people were advised to take out endowment mortgages. In the 90’s and noughties it became clear these were not going to pay out, and many people, people like my mother, mother in law, and hundreds to thousands of others, replaced their endowment mortgages with repayment. Sounds fine so far – but here’s the rub. The new mortgages will not be paid off any time soon. An entire generation of home buyers was caught by the money men’s bad advice, and many of them were in their forties at the time. Of these, many were in their fifties or even sixties when they re-mortgaged. That means, thousands of people with mortgage repayments to make well into their 70’s, often their late 70’s.

    These people, like my mother, cannot stop working, and as in her case, never expect to.

    Unfortunately, what that means, in an economy with few real jobs to go around, is that the older generations are squeezing, through no fault of their own, young people out of work. And no amount of Daily Mail reader-pleasing ‘boot camps’ is going to change that.

  11. Denise Lewis August 17, 2015 at 3:25 pm - Reply

    I became self employed because no one would employ me. I am 62, should have retired 2 years ago, but with the changes, increasing the retirement age…is it any wonder stats show more older people working?

    • Ruby August 17, 2015 at 4:35 pm - Reply

      I know what you mean Denise in ‘no one would employ me’. There is supposed to be no age discrimination and JCP tell you not to disclose your NINO on applications because they can get your birthdate from it. Most of the large corps. ask for the number on application forms (which they are not supposed to do) JCP told me to make up a number! which would be lying. You can’t win either way!

  12. Chris Bergin August 17, 2015 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Lots of older folk are also contributing toward the costs of the families they have already raised because wages have not kept pace with prices and Bank of Mum and/or Dad is never closed.

  13. amnesiaclinic August 17, 2015 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Younger people do not have the experience – how do they get it if older people carry on working?
    But they have to. A double bind. Rents are so high and housing benefit is now a pittance. Pensions even with a small occupational one go nowhere near covering rent and the astronomical council tax. No help with that any more.
    But the mortgages and house prices are artificially inflated so the middle classes feel rich and secure. Affordable housing is non-existent and even what there is being sold off to be developed for gentrified high rents as poorer people are shipped out to rural england with no amenities.
    Libraries being closed and all public services shut down so we work and then die in harness not being able to access a decent pension. Saves them a lot of money and we ain’t seen nothing yet. Sadly.
    We need to take things into our own hands and develop small communities with shared resources and areas but maintaining privacy and develop jobs growing food, shops, networks etc.
    These projects are under threat from corporations so we need to move out into them and assist the fight for keeping independence, choice, dignity and community.
    Any one out there with some practical suggestions?

  14. Steve bailiff August 17, 2015 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Because pensions have been raped by companies, governments all in the name of Greedy shareholders and Business.When everyone can’t afford to retire as they should do they will be ” forced ” ( as there is no alternative ) to work til they die. Leaders will be ok though.

  15. AM-FM August 17, 2015 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    We have a growing, and an aging population, so we’re bound to have more 50-65’s ‘working’, and more of everything else!
    How the percentage of unemployed/employed in the 50-65 group is varying would be the interesting bit, but of course they don’t give that.

    And as usual their ‘success story’ is very weak, a 55 year old gets 25 hours in a coffee shop, yippee, perhaps he’ll now buy another yacht.

    Don’t forget workfare, MWA and all the other schemes still apply to the over 60’s.

  16. Julie Knights August 17, 2015 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    This is because the last Labour government stole 3 years of pension off many of us, with ConDems stealing 3 more years of pension off us. Cheaper to have young people unemployed than paying pensions, especially if you blame young people for their unemployment and stop their benefits.

  17. Gusman Jones August 18, 2015 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Work 7 days a week, until you die and still in debt, pass that on to your offspring, that’s the future.

  18. themindbogls August 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    I’ve been trying to replace the job from which I was made redundant nearly four years ago, at the age of 62, looking after a large country house while the owners are abroad. (I was astonishingly good at it.) Not because I can’t live on the State pension, I’ve actually found it not ungenerous, but because at 65 I’m still hoping to make something of myself! Of course, no-one pays any attention now to my splendid CV, they probably don’t believe half of the things I tell them I have shown conclusively I can do for them on a minuscule salary…. Ambition is a hideous thing, but I’m ridiculously fit and well and haven’t even gone grey yet. And my mum was still working at 85, so I keep going. Good luck by the way to Jeremy Corbyn, 66 and hoping to become PM at the age of 71…

  19. Julian Morgan August 20, 2015 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Another way of interpreting these stats is that the generation that was birthed by the Baby Boom of the early forties and the commonwealth immigration of the 50’s is now turning 50+. The percentage of the population in this age bracket is disproportionately large (hence the larger numbers in employment) because of that baby boom following WWII and are a consequence of factors that were set in place long before the DWP decided to use it to show how wonderful it is….

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