New figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal the number of long-term (6-12 months) unemployed over-50s has increased by 135 per cent, the highest increase among all age groups. Men are being hit hardest among this age group, with the numbers of long term unemployed increasing by 185 percent, the highest increase among all age groups.
Andrew Harrop, Head of Public Policy for Age Concern and Help the Aged, said:
"These figures confirm our fears that men in their 50s are being hit hard by the recession, with the number of long term unemployed men over 50 nearly trebling over the past year.
"Employers ageist attitudes mean many older workers simply aren't getting the opportunities to return to employment and research shows the longer it takes, the more unlikely it is they will ever get back to work.
"An end to the working lives of men in their 50s now will not only condemn them to an uncomfortable retirement, but will also deprive the recovering economy of their skills and experience, just when they are most needed.
"The Government's Employment White Paper shows it has listened to the plight of the over 50s. We hope the package of support they have promised will help prevent a lost generation of older workers becoming trapped in long-term unemployment."