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Over-50s in the UK are Struggling to Pay for Necessities

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A study of UK labour market statistics has revealed that an increasing number of over-50s are finding it difficult to pay for basic necessities, with Universal Credit claims from over-50s having doubled in the last three months.

Stuart Lewis, the founder of Rest Less, a website for over-50s that commissioned the research said: “Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg as many of those unemployed in their 50s will not be eligible to claim universal credit. The surge in older claimants highlights the extremely precarious financial situation that many of this demographic find themselves in today.

“With birth rates having declined for decades, the over-50s have been the main driving force behind the success story of UK employment growth in the years leading up to the pandemic,” Lewis added. “Crucially, they will need to be just as essential to any recovery of the economy on the other side.”

There was a 117% increase in claims for Universal Credit in two months according to Office for National Statistics figures. This is a jump from just over 300,000 to almost 660,000.

Around 6% of claims came from those in the over-50s category who are still working, or looking for work. Even before the pandemic struck, over-50s were more likely than their younger counterparts to be out of work long-term.

“In a year when the state pension age increases to 66 and with more over-50s claiming universal credit than those under 25, this is a wakeup call for government policy. The fear is of a lost generation of highly talented, older workers forced permanently into a miserable and unaffordable early retirement,” said Lewis.

Associate director at the Centre for Ageing Better, Kim Chaplain, said: “These figures are really worrying. Without action, we risk seeing many in their 50s and 60s fall out of the workforce years before the state pension age.”

Charity director at Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, said: “Post-pandemic, the government needs to make sure that job centres and other back-to-work support offers have the skills and expertise needed to address the specific barriers faced by older people.

“Otherwise those in their late 50s and 60s may end up having to claim universal credit or draw down savings, which they had worked hard to put by, with the aim of providing them with a decent retirement.”

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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