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Older workers are crucial to the UK economy

Published on 14 March 2018 01:54 PM

A new report published by the Centre for Ageing Better says that making sure older workers can stay in good-quality employment is beneficial for the UK economy.

The centre says that it could relieve pressure on public finances, because working in later life is key to raising tax revenue, reducing welfare bill and promoting financial independence in retirement.

Overall fewer people aged over 55 contribute taxes, but the number of workers over the age of 50 has increased in recent years. This is partly because of the generation reaching this age – one which saw a greater number of women in the workforce.

Enabling older people to participate economically is part of the mission of Age UK Bristol, and CEO Mark Baker welcomes this new report. “We know that playing an active role in society is an important thing for older people. It is often connected with more social contact, better health and an improvement in overall wellbeing.

“We welcome this report and the recommendations that it makes – for the government and employers to support older adults in employment and those seeking employment. Specifically, the report mentions access to flexitime, workplace adaptations and equal opportunities in the workplace.

“I would love to see local employers in Bristol taking a lead and committing to making their workplaces work for everyone, irrespective of their age.”

Figures in the report suggest that by increasing the number of older people in work, the treasury could benefit from up to £3 billion in income tax and national insurance payments. It could also increase GDP by up to 1% (£18 billion), reduce welfare bills and enable people to save more for their retirement.

“With social care budgets in crisis, this extra money could go a long way to relieving some pressure,” Mark Baker says. “Opportunities for older people in the world of work could have a positive knock-on impact for everyone in our society.”