The equality watchdog found that one in ten men, and seven per cent of women, would like to set up their own business after reaching the retirement age.
Earlier this month, Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, announced a fast-track review of the retirement age. The EHRC today announced that it would back plans to stop forcing workers into retirement at 65, claiming that an extension of people’s working lives would inject £15bn into the British economy.
"Keeping older Britons healthy and in the workforce benefits the economy more broadly by decreasing welfare costs and increasing the spending power of older Britons,” says Baroness Margaret Prosser, deputy chair of the EHRC.
The survey, in which around 1,500 men and women aged between 50 and 75 took part, found that 24 per cent of men and 64 per cent of women want to keep working beyond the state pension age, due to be 65 for both sexes by 2020. However, structural barriers and outdated stereotypes are forcing people out of work early, the commission said. "This is about developing a way of working that is based on the demographics of today’s population,” Prosser continues.
However, older workers added that flexibility in hours and locations was crucial to keeping them in the workforce longer, as they aimed to balance caring responsibilities and health needs with work.
Charlie Mullins, the managing director of Pimlico Plumbers, which has 20 percent of its workforce aged over 55, says he also supports the call to scrap the retirement age.
"Quite honestly, allowing people to be kicked out of their jobs just because they’re a certain age is completely against everything we stand for in Britain today," he says. "Quite rightly you can’t discriminate on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation, so why should you be able to do it on age? In the 21st century the whole idea is preposterous!
"Older people create too many benefits for businesses and the economy to just wave goodbye to them when they reach a certain age."
Britain has experienced a skills exodus during the recession, and as the economy recovers, it faces a very real threat of not having enough workers – a problem that is further exacerbated by the skills lost by many older workers being forced to retire at 65.
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