Category Archives: employment

apply National Insurance Contributions to pensioners’ earnings, think tank reports

A new generational contract is needed to tackle the big challenges Britain faces for young and old, covering a better funded NHS and care system, a radically reformed housing market, and a new citizen’s inheritance to boost the prospects of younger generations. This is according to the final report of the Intergenerational Commission published today (Tuesday).

Over the last two years and via 22 reports, the Intergenerational Commission – chaired by Lord Willetts and including TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn – has investigated the stresses and strains on Britain’s contract between generations, and what can be done to renew it.

The generational contract reflects the fact that we judge the success of a society by how it treats its old, and believe strongly that each generation should have a better life than the one before.

However, the Commission warns that the public are increasingly questioning whether Britain is offering young people the prospects previous generations have enjoyed. This is not just confined to younger generations either, with healthcare now the most pressing area of worry for British adults.

The Commission finds that much of this pessimism is borne out by the evidence it has uncovered:

Income and wealth progress for young adults has stalled

New analysis shows that the disposable incomes of millennials at age 30 are no higher than the generation before them (generation X) at that age – despite the economy growing by 14 per cent over the last 15 years. In contrast, the incomes of baby boomers at age 30 were more than one third higher than the generation before them.
Millennials are half as likely as the baby boomers were to own their own home by 30, and are four times as likely to rent in the private sector.
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Our comment: That ‘Millenials’ are less well off than previous generations is understood, and the need for appropriate levels of funding for the NHS, though we believe that the cost should be shared by all. Older people have already lost the Age Related Tax Allowance.

Minister wanted UK pensioners to be low-wage fruit pickers

A Conservative cabinet minister suggested getting pensioners to pick fruit and vegetables below the minimum wage instead of hiring Bulgarians and Romanians at the legal rate, a former Lib Dem coalition colleague has claimed.

David Laws, who lost his seat at last year’s general election, revealed the episode in a new book about his days in government, saying the plan was hatched by Owen Paterson, the then environment secretary. The account is disputed by Paterson but Laws alleges that his former Tory colleague came up with the idea after proposing to end a scheme bringing over migrants from Bulgaria and Romania to work in the fields of British farmers.

In his book, serialised in the Mail on Sunday, Laws says: “When a colleague suggested the move would be unpopular with farmers, who would no longer find it easy to employ cheap labour for the back-breaking work, defiant Mr Paterson replied: ‘Oh, but I’ve thought of that, I think I have the answer. We’ll try to get more British pensioners picking some of the fruit and vegetables in the fields instead. Of course, getting pensioners to do this work could lead to an increase in farmers’ costs. After all, they may be a bit slower doing the work. I’ve thought of that too. We might arrange to exempt British pensioners from the minimum-wage laws, to allow them to do this work.’”

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Scottish Nationalists call for boycott of ‘traitor’ Tunnock’s Teacakes

  • The historic Scottish firm has removed traditional Lion Rampant motif
  • Move has angered cybernats who have called Scots to boycott the treat
  • Managing director Boyd Tunnock was a vocal supporter of No campaign


It is one of Scotland’s most historic firms, whose foil-wrapped tea cakes delight tastebuds the world over.
But Tunnock’s has incurred the wrath of cybernats after rebranding the sweet treat as British, with its traditional Lion Rampant motif missing from a new advertising campaign in England.
The promotion, which has appeared on the London Underground, also describes the product as ‘Tunnock’s Great British Tea Cake’.>

Managing director Boyd Tunnock was a vocal supporter of the No campaign in the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014.
The 82-year-old biscuit baron – grandson of founder Thomas Tunnock, who started the company in Uddingston, Lanarkshire, in 1890 – said of the change: ‘It was the idea of my son-in-law, Fergus Loudon, who is the sales manager and looks after advertising. You’ve got The Great British Bake Off and things like that these days.


Nearly 250,000 more people in over-65 age group have opted to stay in work

Many North East pensioners could be choosing to work after 65 to help their children and grandchildren
Thousands of over-65s across the North East are still working past retirement age, figures show.

Some 29,000 people of pensionable age in the region are still doing the nine-to-five after the law changed to allow them to stay in their jobs.

And while many may simply want to continue their careers, some older people could be doing so to financially support their jobless children and grandchildren, campaigners say.

Sean Fahey of the North East Pensioners Association said: “Our culture in this region is to bear and share, to help one another in times of hardship, and that is what is happening now.

“It is something that has been raised at our meetings, people talking about having to financially support their children and grandchildren who might not be in work.”

Nearly 250,000 more people in the over-65 age group have opted to stay in work since the Default Retirement Age was abolished on October 1, 2011.
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Pensioners could retrain as teachers under Tory proposals

PENSIONERS will be encouraged to come out of retirement and retrain as teachers under Conservative proposals.

Prime Minister David Cameron is currently considering plans to offer recent retirees the chance to go on fast track training courses before entering classrooms.

Retirees with experience in science and engineering will be targeted as part of the plans.

Mr Cameron has said that too many British youngsters are failing to get jobs when they leave school due to poor maths and English skills.

Christina Snell, chief executive officer of AGE UK Gloucestershire, said: “Older people have something to offer any industry because they can bring life experience.

“But our concern is that older people are being seen by this government as solutions to problems without spending any money.

“If such a scheme was supported properly it would be great for older people. But it would be really important that they have access to the most up to date information. If they had retired more than 10 years ago they’re likely to be partly out of touch with the latest developments in their field.”

The proposals were put forward by a panel of senior Conservatives, known as the 2020 Group, tasked with coming up with a range of policies for the party’s election manifesto.

MPs will present the plans to Mr Cameron this week.

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One in 10 pensioners is working or looking for a job

The proportion of those aged between 65 and 74 who are still economically active nearly doubled in a decade, rising from 8.7 per cent in 2001 to 16 per cent in 2011, representing an increase of 413,000 people.

The statistics, drawn from the most recent census, provide a stark illustration of how the pensions crisis is forcing many older people to continue working well into their retirement years.

In 2011, there were 9.2 million residents of England and Wales aged 65 and over, an increase of nearly one million from a decade earlier.

Ten per cent of them were economically active, defined as either being in employment or seeking work, according to analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The census also revealed that nearly half a million pensioners are providing 50 or more hours a week of unpaid care, which can include looking after a sick or immobile spouse or parent. This is a sharp rise from 341,000 in 2001.
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So much emphasis on cuts and so little on growth

Every day brings a new slant on what some see as the urgent need to scrap benefits such as Winter Fuel Allowance, Free Prescriptions, Bus Passes, and regrets from members of the coalition government that so firm a commitment to preserving benefits for the elderly and disabled were made at the last general election. We have put forward ideas for bringing the payment of Winter Fuel Allowance in line with State Pensions by taxing the allowance.

We are very concerned however that each of these measures which will reduce spending power yet further in the economy is in itself self defeating, since government income from VAT and business profits will be brought down further, unemployment levels will rise (and employment benefits rise) so increasing the deficit – all with the opposite effect to that which the Government is said to be trying to achieve.

The UK badly needs an alternative approach based on growing the economy, and reducing the deficit , not deflating it. Are politicians out there listening ?

Disability tests ‘sending sick and disabled back to work’

People deemed too sick or disabled to work are being refused their benefits because the current assessment is inadequate, according to the expert appointed to review it.

Prof Malcolm Harrington, the government appointed adviser on testing welfare claimants, admitted the work fitness test was “patchy”.

He said that as a result of the flaws in the 13 week assessment, which tests physical fitness as well as mental skills, some claimants who were genuinely unable to work, have suffered.

He made the comments during an investigation into the system, introduced by the last Labour government, by the BBC’s Panorama programme.

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‘Where’s the benefit blog’ has a few things to say on this subject

Disabilities Minister defends Remploy factory closures in Wales

In this opinion piece, Disabilities Minister Maria Miller sets out the UK Government’s argument on why the factories should close.

If you or someone in your family is disabled and works at one of the five Welsh Remploy factories announced for closure, then I know that this must be a difficult time for you with concerns about the future.

The Remploy Board announced last week that there were 65 proposals for factories across the country – however no viable business plans were put forward for the factories in Aberdare, Abertillery, Merthyr Tydfil, Swansea or Wrexham.

I want to reassure all those affected by the announcement, that as well as redundancy money an £8m package of support is there to help you into a mainstream job including a Personal Case Worker to everyone affected with their future choices.

The 181 workers at these five Welsh sites can also access support from Remploy Employment Services, which last year found over 1,500 jobs for disabled and disadvantaged people in these affected areas – many with similar disabilities to those working in Remploy factories.
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Only one in three pensioners stop work at retirement age

Fewer than a third of pensioners stopped working when they reached retirement age last year because they could not afford to give up their jobs, new figures show.
The number of people delaying their retirement rose significantly compared to the previous year, when around half of all people stopped working when they reached the state pension age.

Experts said that the sharp increase in the number of people working beyond their retirement age demonstrates how little money people are putting aside for their later years. The increase also show how ongoing economic turmoil is reducing the value of people’s pension pots.

Figures from Mintel, the research company, found that only three in ten pensioners retired when they reached state pension age over the year to February 2012. This is down from 48 per cent of people the previous year.

One in eight people said that they had retired because they could afford to last year, Mintel found.

Joanne Segars, the chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), which represents pension companies, said that many people reach retirement age and realise that they simply can not afford to stop working.
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more pensioners in work than immigrants and young people

In the last ten years the number of over 65s in employment has doubled to nearly 900,000. If this habit continues to spread we can look forward to more efficient service in shops, offices and restaurants.

Maybe it is because I am getting on a bit myself these days that I am so irascible, but I am fed up of having to repeat everything twice because waiters, salespeople and call centres haven’t the foggiest idea what I am saying, either because they’ve got something else on their young minds or because they don’t speak English.

Elderly workers have the benefit of experience behind them but also a good attitude and level of professionalism often lacked by young and foreign workers

Read more in The Daily Mail: