Saga warns government that welfare reforms will be devastating for many over 50s

Thursday 11 November 2010

Saga warns government that welfare reforms will be devastating for many over 50s

  • They are happy to work but cannot find jobs
  • Raising the State Pension age, while removing welfare support, risks plunging over 50s into poverty
  • Age discrimination is huge barrier to over 50s

Today's announcements on welfare reform are heading in the right direction for many, however they do not reflect the special needs of the over 50s, says Ros Altmann, Director General of Saga.

“Saga surveys consistently show that older people are keen to keep working, far more respondents now express the desire to work part-time in later life, in order to supplement inadequate pensions,” said Ros Altmann.

“However, the labour market is not enabling this to happen. At the same time, the Government is planning to remove the Pension Credit from the over-60s, as the age for Pension Credit receipt is set to rise in line with increases in women's state pension age. Many of those in their early 60s will thus be forced to survive on much lower benefits, desperate to work but unable to find employment.”

Saga is warning the Government that this group will need special consideration when tackling welfare reform. Most of the over 50s who have lost their jobs are anxious to get back to work, but they face significant age discrimination in the labour market and those who need part-time work often cannot find it.

Once unemployed in their latter years, people find it far harder to re-enter employment than younger people. To force such people onto benefits, when they do actually want to work, will be devastating for them.

Saga supports the Government's initiatives to reform the welfare system and to 'make work pay'. However, it is not as simple as that and, especially for older jobseekers, the labour market simply is not working.

As millions of baby-boomers are set to enter their 60s in the next few years and as Government is drastically reducing the welfare support available to them, there is a serious risk that those who are desperate to work will be unable to find employment and will be consigned to the scrapheap far too early.


A recent Saga Survey show that one-in-five (19%) over 50s said they planned to continue working in their current job once they reach retirement age and 9% plan to continue working past retirement age but in a different job to currently. A further 9% plan to do voluntary work when they retire.

For those planning to continue working, the desire to continue making money is the prime motivation – 61% cited this as one of their reasons for working after retirement age. Nearly as many, however, 59% said they wanted to keep their mind active and half admitted to simply enjoying working.

Populus received 13,040 responses from people aged 50 and over to its on-line poll for SAGA between 11th and 17th June 2010.

For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529

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