Letter: Third Age families

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your account of the Carnegie Trust's report on the role of work in the Third Age ('Growth in number of jobless over-50s could blight recovery', 16 September) rightly refers to the influence on management recruitment policies of stereotypical concepts of older workers' abilities.

Unfortunately, your leading article in the same edition introduces its own stereotype of older employees 'whose children have grown up and whose mortgages may have been paid off'. Many (and arguably increasing numbers of) older workers have young and dependent children, for reasons which include the tendency to delay a family for career and financial reasons, families arising from second marriages, and the biological consequences of the general prolonging of active life. Mortgage repayments may well remain heavy as a consequence.

I am aware of many 'Third Age' workers who, like myself, have young dependent children. The well-publicised case of Sir Norman Fowler is far from untypical. For these older parents who break apparent stereotypes, the financial rewards of work are as important as for the 'young (who) have children and heavy mortgages to support' referred to in your leading article.

Yours faithfully,


Easingwold, North Yorkshire