Scheme aims to back older workers

The Government has announced new measures to support older workers, saying that helping people stay in the workplace longer could boost the economy by billions of pounds.

Pensions minister Steve Webb has launched an action plan to help older workers
Pensions minister Steve Webb has launched an action plan to help older workers

Pensions minister Steve Webb launched a new action plan, including extending the right to request flexible working, support for workers with health problems, and the appointment of an Older Workers' Employment Champion.

Mr Webb said: "Older workers have a huge amount to bring to any workforce and are a vast untapped talent.

"We are living longer and can expect many more years of healthy life. It's great news - but it's something that as a society and as an economy we need to respond to.

"The business case is compelling and the research we are launching today sets out clearly the advantages for individuals, employers and the state.

"As part of building a fairer society, I am determined that we boost our support for older workers and help employers challenge outdated perceptions to see the real strengths of this important section of the workforce."

The employment rate for 55 to 64-year-olds is around 60% and growing, but the Government said the recent improvement has been "relatively modest" compared to many other nations.

Mr Webb will today visit Marshfield Bakery, a 30-year-old medium-sized family business based near Bath, which employs 16 staff aged over 50.

Managing director Chris Smith said: "Older employees, with their unrivalled experience, play a critical role in our team, including in mentoring and developing their younger colleagues. It is in our interests as a business to retain the services of these high quality people for as long as possible."