Rest Less Warns that Rishi Sunak’s Youth Kickstart Scheme Could Leave At Least 660,000 Over 50s Dependent on Universal Credit for a Decade

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented:

“The government is right to commit resources to support youth employment in its Kickstart Scheme but the current policy will significantly distort the labour market, reduce permanent job creation and make it much harder for other under-represented groups like the over 50s to find work.

‘Pre-pandemic, workers aged over 50 were more likely to be made redundant, to be in long term unemployment, to have less access to workplace training and to face heightened age discrimination in the recruitment process post-pandemic*.

‘Following today’s announcement, with more over 50s claiming Universal Credit than those under 24, and redundancies surging, why would any company create a permanent role and hire a 61 year old who has just been made redundant, when they could hire a 23 year old for free on a temporary six month basis?

‘With 660,000 over 50s claiming Universal Credit in May (up from 304,000 in March) and the state pension age increasing to 66 this year – given the known challenges facing the over 50s in the recruitment process, we expect hundreds of thousands of over 50s to be forced into an early retirement they cannot afford, living off Universal Credit until they reach the state pension age – which could be as long as 10 -15 years.”

Rest Less’s analysis of data from the Office of National Statistics** shows:

  • Over 50s have been responsible for 73% of the UK’s employment growth in the past 20 years since 2000.

  • Universal Credit claims from the over 50s increased by more than 355,000 between March and May this year, taking the total number of Universal Credit claims amongst this group to nearly 660,000. This compares with an increase of nearly 288,000 claims amongst the under 25s in the same time period.

    (Please note Universal Credit claims are a particularly poignant measure as it highlights the financially precarious position of this group with less than £16,000 in savings after three decades in the workplace)  

  • Based on data to April 2020 – at the beginning of lockdown – inactivity levels amongst 50-64 year olds increased by more than 48,000 in a month and are now at their highest level ever (3.3 million) – providing early indications that many in this age group have been and are likely to continue to be pushed into early retirement as a result of Covid.

‘We need to see the Government launch initiatives to help the whole of Britain get back to work, not just one section of the population, to the detriment of others. We would like to see the Government launch specific initiatives to support older workers back into the workplace – as they have done with young people – which focus on dedicated retraining and upskilling programmes such as later life apprenticeships, tailored entrepreneurship support for older workers and financial incentives for businesses to hire older workers like the Australian Restart programme.”

56 Year Old Made Redundant in March. Lives With Her 21 Year Old Son Who is Struggling to Find an Apprenticeship And Has Been Unemployed Since February

Ruth Slack, aged 56 is from Bedfordshire and lives at home with her 21 year old son. Ruth was made redundant in March after working in marketing for a tyre company which imports from China and business began to slow. Her son was previously working for Centre Parcs but left his role in February to focus on getting an apprenticeship which he hasn’t managed to find yet. Ruth had to go on JSA before finding a temp role with the government’s track and trace programme. She is desperately searching for a permanent role as money is tight. She is currently searching for a new role through a number of websites, including Rest Less.

More case studies available on request

Notes to Editors

*Data from a Rest Less member poll of 878 over 50s – when asked if they thought age discrimination in the workplace would increase as a result of coronavirus, 70% said yes
**Figures are based on analysis by Rest Less of data from the Office of National Statistics’s Labour Force Survey comparing employment levels from January to March 2000 with those in January to March 2020

For media enquiries, please contact:

Aisling Gray
Head of Communications
Phone: 07900996065
Email: [email protected]

About Rest Less

Rest Less ( launched in December 2018 and is a membership community for the over 50s designed to help its members get more out of life. Rest Less has thousands of jobs available on its site from progressive age-friendly employers across the country. Rest Less is the leading site in the UK to offer flexible opportunities to work, volunteer or even start a new career path, specifically targeting the rapidly growing over 50s market.

29 thoughts on “Rest Less Warns that Rishi Sunak’s Youth Kickstart Scheme Could Leave At Least 660,000 Over 50s Dependent on Universal Credit for a Decade

  1. Avatar
    Ann on Reply

    I would happily give my job up for someone else, I’m 65 next month and having to work till 66 to get my state pension. Have worked full time since I was 15 only having 18months of to have children, then our jobs weren’t kept open for us to return after having our babies. Have not had any help at all from the government over my working life.

  2. Avatar
    Jayne broadhurst on Reply

    Had cancer twice at 52 and 56 I am 60 know I am kept by my husband who works and he is 62 he is ready to retire but if I was having my pension it would help the pressure of my husband i think it’s very unfair if only they would give us a bus pass it would help never had nothing of this country even having cancer my husband kept on working

  3. Avatar
    Elaine Hollis on Reply

    Why don’t you do an article on how men reaching 66 in September are being allowed to claim their state pension now { as a concession to having to wait nearly an extra year} but women have to wait till September { having to wait a full SIX years } Injustice and inequality

  4. Avatar
    Ms Oliver on Reply

    I think it’s outrageous how we 50s women have been treated . It’s completely stuffed up my retirement and taken 6 years of my life away. Bring down the retirement age to normal and give the younger generation a chance of some dignity by having a job not benefits

  5. Avatar
    Valerie Connolly on Reply

    Things is I don’t degrude anybody anything but but but iam so angry about how us 1950 women have been treated we built up our pension in our own right so why now are we having to realie on our husbands and means testered on how much money we have I was told years ago pay a full stamp and u are intiled to a full state pension in your own right????? So why should I have to rely on my husband been I hard slog my husband great but I worked and payed in for what to wait another 6 years sixty thousand pounds down and my husband to buy what a woman needs disgusting 🤢

  6. Avatar
    Annette Miller on Reply

    I was made redundant last year from a long term position and offered a year contract of one day a week until August 2020. From then as a 64 year old highly skilled educationist and senior leader I doubt I will find suitable employment before I am eligible for my state pension in 18 months. Who will employ me??

  7. Avatar
    Linda on Reply

    If the retirement age was put back to sixty then a lot of older women who are struggling going to work in pain every day this would make way for the young people of today to get jobs and benefiting company’s with young energetic people with new ideas which is basically what they want older people are just tolerated no matter how hard they work or how much dedication they give to the company they work for its youth they want going forward .

    1. Avatar
      Gillian M on Reply

      Totally agree with you. Why don’t the government just do the right thing and pay us our dues. They are throwing money they said they didn’t have to everyone else during the pandemic but we are supposed to live on fresh air.

  8. Avatar
    Anonymous on Reply

    I personally think that the over 60s men and women have worked long enough. Why not allow them to take the state Pension at 60. This would be cheaper than paying Income support to younger people with dependants and would free up million of jobs. They could also provide child care for their grandchildren and free them up to take care of older family members which again would save money

  9. Avatar
    Jill Seabridge-Chadwick on Reply

    Please back the WASPI women, give them their pensions go thrust can retire and free up potentially 3 million jobs…win win

  10. Avatar
    Kathryn Turrell on Reply

    I am sure many WASPI women who are lucky enough to still have jobs would happily give them up to younger workers if they were assured of their state pension.Surely this is a win win situation, paying the state pension to these women would save the benefits paid to younger people and the hidden cost to the NHS of mental health issue she caused by unemployment. Of course not all over 60’s women want to retire, but I suspect a large number would leave the work placed and free up jobs if the they were going to get the state pension they are due. The qualifying period for payment of the full state pension is 35 years, however people like me have already paid NI for over 45 years and will have to continue to pay until age 66 to qualify for the full State Pension. This cannot be fair! WASPI women have been shafted with insufficient or no notice of changes!

  11. Avatar
    Lili Vandiver on Reply

    Let’s rewind 35-40 years and look back at the Youth Opportunities Scheme of the 70’s&80’s…
    It successfully employed young people but left the dole cues full of men and women with mouths to feed and children to house.
    It’s been tried before and it failed! The dole cues of that era where inundated.
    Do we really need to go through this… Again?

  12. Avatar
    Marie on Reply

    I was NEVER told about waiting another 6 years. I suffer with arthritis I’m not going to last another 6 years working full time constantly in pain .
    I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a job ( minimum wage as per struggling) . I have to work till I drop. We’ve been robbed. This worry affects my mental health as well.

  13. Avatar
    Anonymous on Reply

    Give 50s women the pensions they worked hard for a d you stole from us and give the younger generation our jobs instead of benefits it will save money

  14. Avatar
    Margaret Kissack on Reply

    It would make more sense to let all the over 60s retire on full pension which they have paid into. This would release thousands of permanent jobs for younger people

  15. Avatar
    Pam Fraser on Reply

    Absolutely disgusted with this government let’s just forget those over a certain age, DO they not think they have killed off enough of us. Having to stop watching news and social media, as it’s causing mental health issues, maybe I can get Boris to purchase some land beside my house for HS2. Millions for his dad and his brother, they should be ashamed. I am ashamed of UK GOVERNMENT AND Holyrood is no better.

  16. Avatar
    Rae Kelly on Reply

    Retire the 1950s pensionless pensioners which will free about over a million jobs for the younger generation. The 1950s women will then spend their money, help the ecconomy and also they will be able to look after their grandchildren allowing more of the younger folk back into work. Also they would continue with their unpaid role as carers to their elderly relatives…LET US RETIRE …

  17. Avatar
    Margaret Wilson on Reply

    Recent studies including the Lancet and King’s report show that longevity in the UK is reversing. That aside, longevity does not equate to good health and studies are also showing health declines further with increased working into our twilight years. Added to this, the task of procuring work is crushing, as knock back after knock back is experienced in an ageist market. Once in work, the health related conditions manifest. The menopause brings with it a sharp drop in oestrogen levels leading to an abundance of osteoarthritic conditions. Breast cancer can be prevalent in middle age. Incontinence becomes something you learn to live with but the nearest toilet becomes factored into most activities. So how does this work in the workplace such as a factory floor – with minimal rest breaks over a given number of hours? Or standing for long periods with arthritic feet? Men have their own problems such as prostate issues and strokes. What company in reality is going to choose an employee from this bracket when they can choose a more energetic and trainable youngster? Now they come with a dowry to make them even more appealing. Just give us oldies a break!!!

  18. Avatar
    Anne Hoyle on Reply

    So many sensible and intelligent comments all relating to the older generation and I suspect many situations that argue it would be more helpful to this country to let the over 60’s retire and give jib opportunities to the younger generations which also free’s up the older generation to look after either grandchildren or older family members both of which helps this government and the economy. To me this is a win win situation and as a 50’s born women I couldn’t agree more. I sincerely hope that this is “strongly suggested” from all directions and from people who “have the government’s ear” . Let’s help every generation and not just a few whilst also helping the economy.

  19. Avatar
    Tina Harrington on Reply

    At 64 am still working as self employed sports massage therapist (I say working but currently unable to because of government restrictions re Coronavirus). I would dearly love to retire as am beginning to suffer with arthritis in my hands. I agree that the government should pay us 60+ workers our pension that we had signed up to with the intention of retiring at 60. By letting us have our pension now it would free up jobs and help those over 60’s who are suffering ill health etc but having to work to work financially.

  20. Avatar
    Sylvia on Reply

    50s women have worked long enough and not being told they will need to work till 66 till late on is a disgrace.
    No time to save more money for the extra years for retirement .
    Not all of us are physically / mentally able to continue in work till 66 .
    Do what is right for the 50s women . NOW

  21. Avatar
    Babs Dixon on Reply

    I was a nurse for 40+ years and had to give up at the age of 60 years, due to ill health. I could no longer cope with the twelve hour shifts and the internal rotation from days to nights, as required now. I then, managed to work in a Bistro for 3 years working 10am – 4.30pm three days a week. I have now had to give this up because of my health issues, for which I receive PIP payments. I have worked from the age of 13 years and only took a break to care for children.
    My husband has just started receiving his State Pension this May and because of this, we no longer receive Universal credit and I am not entitled to ESA. We live on my husband’s pension and PIP payments until I qualify for my pension in 3 years time at the age of 66 years. I never, like a lot of women, received notification about the change to our pension age and feel so angry and disappointed.
    Due to the Covid pandemic things have changed dramatically in our lives. People are losing jobs and are being put into dire poverty. Could the Government not pay the WASPI women not get the pension due to them (not a handout) and let the young people have the employment, we older women have to do and give them the opportunity to have a career and a future.
    The country needs our next generation to get this country ‘Great’ again and let our WASPI women receive the money they have worked hard for, for many years.

  22. Avatar
    Lesley Morgan on Reply

    I agree with so many of the comments above. It would make financial sense to let the women who were born in the fifties retire and free up jobs.

    What really worried me is that to pay for the pandemic there are already rumours about changes to pensions coming in the Autumn Statement. I am 65 and will not get my pension till May 2021. Are they going to raise the age again in the autumn? Please don’t make me wait even longer.

  23. Avatar
    Sue on Reply

    We were told there was no money to pay for our pensions. Money is flowing out of every orifice because of coronavirus, and even people who can afford to eat out and would have been happy to pay full price are getting half-price meals. So there is money; we have been deceived and harmed.

  24. Avatar
    A waljer on Reply

    At age 16 I was told get a job in the civil service you are made for life. That is exactly what I did. No one told me I would be robbed of my pension a few years before retiring and made to work until I dropped. I would quite willingly give my job to a youngster to get a career in employment rather than one on the dole.

  25. Avatar
    Sheila L on Reply

    Born 1957. Worked and paid full stamp since 16. I work for HMRC and have had more stress and in office on call centre throughout pandemic while everyone else was at home doing nothing getting 80% pay. Funny they couldn’t afford to pay me my pension at 60 even though I had paid for it! Now they are ploughing money into employment for Young people. Give them my job and give me my pension that I’ve paid 47 yrs for😡 So I have 2 years 8 months left to work in a stressful job and when I finally get my pension, it will be frozen to help pay back the money they’ve paid to people on furlough 😡 Makes me so angry!

  26. Avatar
    Sarah hughes on Reply

    I was born 1959 work all my adult life have to work till I am 66 looking forward to retiring spending some time with my grandchildren not very fair a disgrace

  27. Avatar
    Val on Reply

    Why are 50s born women like myself still waiting for their pensions? I started work the week before my 16th birthday. I will be 65 in 2 weeks time. Why am I being forced to work, and pay NI (full stamp) for 50 years before I am entitled to the pension I was promised at 60? Why is this generation of women thought so little of? We are the generation who brought families up without any childcare – it was non-existent, ran our homes, cared for our elderly parents, worked part time to fit around everyone else’s needs, therefore excluded from company pension schemes. And still we wait.
    Do those in power have the slightest idea how it feels to be treated like this? Every extra year is another year stolen from what should be our time to relax and spend time with our families, enjoy ourselves after a lifetime of thankless hard work, enjoying our grandchildren. But no. The powers that be would rather see us ground down, and brushed to one side like last week’s rubbish! I am just glad that our parents are no longer around to see how the older generation are now being treated. It is an absolute disgrace! We will never forgive you!

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