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Post-Retirement Work

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the proportion of people that remain in work after reaching the retirement age; what measures there are to encourage people to remain in work; what proposals he has to help people over the retirement age re-enter work; and how many people in the UK over retirement age have been helped back into work. [87365]

There is no state retirement age, only an age at which state pension becomes payable, currently 60 for women and 65 for men. Between 2010 and 2020 the women's state pension age will be gradually increased to 65.Figures that we published for spring 2002 showed that around 861,000 people over state pension age were in employment, 8.5 per cent. of the age group.The New Deal 50 plus programme, which offers tailored help with jobsearch, and an Employment Credit and training grant, is open to people on qualifying benefits who are over 50. There is no upper age limit for eligibility to the programme, and people over the state pension age can take advantage of the help available.We are encouraging people to adopt more flexible approaches to retirement. In "Simplicity, security and choice: Working and saving for retirement" (Cm 5677) published 17 December, we have proposed changes to Inland Revenue rules that will allow people to continue to work for their employer, or return to work for them, and draw their occupational pension at the same time.To encourage more people to consider later retirement, we will bring forward the date of any increase to the increments people gain if they defer their state pension so that people can benefit from it as soon as possible.To help people over state pension age to re-enter work we are promoting vigorously the benefits, to both employers and individuals, of an age diverse work force, including the recruitment and retention of older workers as part of our AgePositive campaign. In 2006 we will introduce legislation to make it unlawful to discriminate against people, on the grounds of age, in employment and vocational training. Under the legislation, compulsory retirement ages are likely to he unlawful, unless employers can objectively justify them.The DWP has a programme of research designed to further understanding of the labour market participation of people over 50, in particular retirement behaviour and the barriers to work encountered by this age group. The research includes a project examining the circumstances under which people work after state pension age, the jobs they do, and the impact of working after state pension age on their health, wealth and happiness, compared with the non-working retired population. This research shows that 9 per cent. of women over 60 and 8 per cent. of men over 65 are in employment.The report will be published in spring 2003 and will be followed by a second stage of qualitative work, which will explore, amongst other things, what would encourage people to stay in work after state pension age.