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Default Retirement Age

Volume 547: debated on Thursday 28 June 2012

The Government’s impact assessment estimates that after one year about 6,000 people will have continued in work as a result of removing the DRA—in other words, between 4% and 7% of employees aged 65 or over.

Does my hon. Friend agree that older workers enable knowledge and skills to be transferred from one generation to the next, and that putting a “best before” date on workers was unacceptable discrimination that this Government have justly got rid of?

My hon. Friend is right. One of the lasting legacies of this coalition will be that, after years of its being talked about, we finally abolished age discrimination in the workplace. To give him an example, research has found that McDonald’s restaurants that employ people over 60 have, on average, far higher customer satisfaction than those that do not.

Is the Minister aware that the experiences of men and women who work beyond retirement age are very different? Nearly two thirds of those who work beyond retirement age are women, and of those most—nearly two thirds—work in lower-skilled jobs, whereas, in contrast, the smaller group of men are working in higher-skilled jobs. What is he going to do about dealing with the poverty of women in old age?

The hon. Lady is right. Successive Governments have failed to deliver an adequate pension to women. That is why we are reforming the state pension, as the Prime Minister confirmed on Monday, to deliver a pension that is simple, decent and, in particular, treats women fairly for the first time.