Leading article: Let people work longer

Share
Related Topics

A court ruled yesterday that British employers can continue to force their staff to retire at the age of 65. But the judge who made the ruling declared that the law is unsustainable, and said he would have ordered the Government to conduct a review of the law had Gordon Brown not already promised to do that. That review is urgent.

The age for compulsory retirement is set to rise anyway. By 2020, women will be brought into line with men to retire at 65. Six years later, it will rise to 66. By 2036 it will be 67. By 2046 it will be 68. That is not enough, which is why David Cameron was right to hint that a Conservative government may accelerate the timetable.

But more must be done. At present, employees may request to work past the compulsory retirement age but employers can say no. They can also refuse to recruit anyone over the age of 65. Employers like this as it makes their planning easier and allows them to force older workers out in favour of younger, cheaper replacements.

But more people now want to work past 65. The proportion of working people over the age of 50 has risen steadily over the past 12 years – from 60 to 70 per cent among women and from 65 to 75 per cent for men. Most retire before 65, but 1.4 million people work past state-pension age. Surveys show that two-thirds of people now expect to have to delay their planned retirement date by as much as nine years. A report by the Office for National Statistics recently bleakly confirmed this. An ageing population and the state of the economy will increase this pressure.

In the short term, people are finding that, thanks to the global recession, their pensions, investments and savings are worth less than they had assumed. So are the houses they hoped they could sell to fund their old age. Many will have to work longer to secure a decent retirement. In the longer term, demographics will make things worse. The population, for the first time, now has more people over 65 than under 16, which has serious implications for the future funding of care for the elderly. Those who are willing and able to work for longer should not have retirement forced upon them.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin. Was Russia awarded the 2018 World Cup unfairly?  

Fifa arrests: Is it the final whistle for corruption in world football?

Mary Dejevsky
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada