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Universal Credit: a missed opportunity to help older workers

Date: 1. July 2013
Giselle Cory

We know that many people want to work into older age – yet many do not. So what stops them? For some, caring for family or friends can make paid work near impossible. For others, their own poor health can be a barrier. And for families on low incomes, it may be that work simply doesn’t pay enough to warrant continuing. This can lead to trouble for families who don’t have the savings they need to maintain decent living standards into retirement.

Universal Credit (UC), the government’s flagship welfare reform, could address some of these barriers. For example, under UC low income households will receive an income boost designed to make work pay. This system could be powerful in ensuring older people have the incentives they need to remain in work. Yet a new report from the Resolution Foundation shows that while UC offers some benefits to older workers, it also misses an opportunity to raise older people’s incentives to stay in a job, or return to work. Without these incentives, low paid work simply does not add up.

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One size does not fit all: why Universal Credit needs to work for older people

Date: 28. May 2013
Giselle Cory

This blog originally appeared on the New Statesman

The shape of our labour market has altered dramatically in recent decades. Among the starkest changes is the increase in the number of older workers – from five million in 1992 to 7.5 million in 2012. One in three people of working age in the UK is already over 50 and the growth of this group will continue to far outpace that of their younger counterparts.

For many of these baby boomers, their working lives have coincided with good times of rising employment and a boom in assets like house prices. But it is naïve to think that all the boomers are now sailing into affluent, easy retirements. The UK has four million inactive or unemployed older people, many of whom might still want to work but are prevented by a mix of caring responsibilities, poor health, poor skills and the fact that there’s often no real financial incentive for them to do so. As a result, many people retire or drift out of the labour market without having been able to save all they need for a comfortable old age.

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Retirement trends in the UK

Date: 26. February 2013
Giselle Cory

We aren’t saving enough for retirement. This was one of the findings presented in Resolution Foundation’s recent audit of low to middle income households, Squeezed Britain, which showed that a massive 69 per cent of low to middle income households do not have a pension. Across all income groups the proportion failing to save for a pension has fallen over the last decade. This means that working in later life is now more important than ever.

Today, new analysis tells us how we’re doing when it comes to the employment of older workers. It shows that retirement ages - distinct from state pension age (SPA) - are rising. For both men and women, the average age at labour market exit increased by around a year between 2004 and 2010. What remains unclear is whether this is out of choice or necessity.

 

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Why We Need to Take Another Look at Older Employment

Date: 15. June 2012
Giselle Cory

This blog originally appeared on the Huffington Post

More people are working for longer. One in eight people now work past their retirement age, up for one in 12 in 2000 according to new stats from ONS. This is good news. Working for longer is to be welcomed at a time when people are living longer, healthier lives. But before we congratulate ourselves on supporting longer working lives, two important factors need to be taken into account.

Firstly, gender counts. Nearly two out of three of the 1.4m older people in work are women. Across the age profile, female participation has been going up for quite some time so we would expect this trend to be reflected within older age groups. But there is another factor at play. The UK has a relatively low female state pension age (SPA).

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