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Older Workers

Volume 635: debated on Monday 5 February 2018

Since 2010, 1,272 new jobs have been created in South Basildon and East Thurrock—an increase due in no small part to my hon. Friend’s efforts. He will be aware that older worker employment levels are at a record high. In his region, 850,000 50 to 64-year-olds are in employment—an increase of over 120,000 people since 2010—and 120,000 people aged 65 and over are in employment. Again, that is another increase of 45,000 since 2010.

Does my hon. Friend agree that encouraging businesses to be flexible in how they employ older workers is one way to bridge the skills gap and keep older workers in the employment market for longer, sharing their experience and knowledge?

My hon. Friend is correct. The fuller working lives strategy, launched by the Department last year, is there specifically to support over-50s into employment and provide them with the skills and retraining that they need, and which businesses specifically value. There are a number of exemplar businesses. He will also be aware that individual people have created over 26,000 new businesses since 2011—that is for the over-50s.

Many older workers are not necessarily there by choice. I think in particular of the WASPI women, who are having to work because of the inadequacies of their pension provision. What are the Government going to do about this?

The Government have no intention of revising the Pension Acts of 1995, 2007 or 2011 introduced by previous Governments and by the coalition, but I make the point very strongly that average employment among the over-50s and the over-64s has increased dramatically since 2010.