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UK govt urged to develop 'Kickstart'-type pensions support

written by Bella Palmer

The International Longevity Centre UK argues that a similar scheme is necessary for older workers as well

As the UK state pension age rises to 66, the British government is being urged by a leading think-tank to develop a 'Kickstart'-style employment support initiative targeting older workers.

This month's increase in the state pension age to 66 will mean many people need to work longer, yet covid-19 has heavily hit employment rates of older as well as younger workers.

The International Longevity Centre UK (ILC), the UK's specialist think-tank on the impact of longevity on society, has urged the chancellor of the exchequer to introduce a scheme akin to Kickstart, but focussed on the needs of older workers.

Kickstart supports people aged 16 to 24 on Universal Credit to access six-month funded work placements. ILC argues that a similar scheme is necessary for older workers who, like younger ones, have been heavily hit by the pandemic.

ILC welcomed this week's announcement of a "lifetime skills guarantee" for adults but argued that further support for older workers was necessary.

David Sinclair, director of ILC, argues: As we live longer lives, it is inevitable that Governments will start to increase the age at which we receive our pension. And this month the state pension age in the UK increases to 66. While more and more of us are working longer, too many people are forced out of the workforce too early.

He 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, Sinclair said.

This week's announcement of a "lifetime skills guarantee" is a welcome and necessary step to ensuring adults have access to the skills they need for work. But without further support from government, a huge number of people aged over 50 will find early retirement forced on them.


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