ILC urges govt to offer Kickstart-style initiative to older unemployed workers

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, should develop a Kickstart-style employment support initiative targeted at older unemployed workers alongside the state pension age increase, according to The International Longevity Centre (ILC).

The organisation noted that this month’s increase in the state pension age to 66 means that people are more likely to need to work for longer, adding that older workers had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, like their younger counterparts.

The ILC said it “welcomed” the launch of the Kickstart initiative, which supports people aged 16 to 24 on Universal Credit in accessing six-month funded work placements, but warned that without similar government support “a huge number of people aged over 50 will find early retirement forced on them”.

ILC director, David Sinclair, said: “The coronavirus has disproportionately impacted on the youngest and the oldest workers in our economy and the long-term growth in employment of those aged over 50 has stalled. These older workers contribute to economic growth. Our economy needs to better use their skills and talents.

“The government’s Kickstart scheme is a brilliant initiative to support younger people on Universal Credit back into work. However, older workers who find themselves unemployed as a result of Covid-19 are likely to find it much more difficult than other ages to get themselves another job.”

Phoenix Group CEO, Andy Briggs, highlighted another key reason that help was needed for older generations of the workforce, noting that “if you become unemployed over the age of 50 you are less likely than any other group to get another job. I am calling for retraining and support for all over 50’s who need it”.

Home Instead Senior Care UK CEO, Martin Jones, stated that older workers “have so much to bring to the workplace”, adding that a recent company survey had found that 40 per cent of over 65s “miss the sense of purpose being at work brings”.

Anchor Hanover CEO, Jane Ashcroft, said: “The mixing of generations creates a more united society, befitting us all. Government should do everything in its power to support older people, as well as younger generations, to be able to continue to play an active part in the workforce.”

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