Sunday, 16 August 2009

Job help plea for older unemployed

A recent press release from the Press Association quotes the TUC claiming that older people are

being forced into early retirement when they lose their jobs because of a lack of support in helping them find new work.

It warned long-term unemployed people aged over 50 were at risk of never working again unless they were given tailored support to get back into the jobs market.

The TUC said research had shown that people aged over 50 who were unemployed were 10 times more likely to still be out of work after two years than they were to have found a new job.

It added that every year spent unemployed by a man in this age group increased the chances of never working again by 24.3%, and almost half of unemployed people over 50 had been out of work for more than a year.

Unemployment among the over 50s is currently running at 4.3%, lower than the overall rate of 7.8% and only a quarter of the rate of 17.3% among people aged 18 to 24. But despite praising the Government for prioritising tackling youth unemployment, the TUC said it must also look at offering tailored support for older people to prevent them from being forced into early retirement against their will.

The group said it was particularly concerned about the 'work for your benefits' scheme for the long-term unemployed, which has been proposed in the Welfare Reform Bill. Under the scheme, unemployed people will have to do compulsory work experience, earning as little as £2 an hour.

But the TUC said the scheme would do nothing to improve the job prospects for older workers, most of whom already have plenty of skills and experience.

It said the Government's job guarantee scheme, which is currently on offer to some young people, under which employers receive subsidies for taking on an unemployed person for at least six months, was a far better way to tackle long-term unemployment.

The group is calling for the scheme to be better funded and extended to include older workers. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The Government must introduce tailored support for older people to prevent them being forced into retirement against their will and face old age in poverty."

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