A House of Lords’ select committee has today released “Ready for Ageing” a report concluding that the government is “woefully underprepared” to deal with a rapidly ageing UK population.

The report shows that a woman turning 65 in 2030 can expect to live until she’s 91. That’s good news. But at 65 she might also expect to face an “inadequate retirement income”, a social care system in an even deeper crisis, the disproportionate burden of caring for elderly parents, and employers who continue to think that people reaching her age should be pushed of the so-called “retirement cliff”.

Better pensions and public services, are key solutions the report backs and these are obviously welcomed. It also calls for allowing “older people to be enabled to stay in employment for longer”, something we’ve long campaigned on. But this requires flexible working practices, retraining, and ultimately a strong “cultural change” underpinned by proper systems to tackle discrimination.

More and more evidence is coming to the fore showing that older women are facing some seriously regressive attitudes out there. A recent survey of UK businesses show that over half of them would prefer to bring back a Default Retirement Age and that almost one-fifth of them still forced workers to retire. And another survey this time EU-wide showed that 54 percent of Europeans think that older people are most likely to be discriminated against in recruitment if they are over 55.

I snuck into the TUC’s Women Conference yesterday to hear inspiring speaker after speaker admonish this government for weakening the laws and the watering down the policies that can help older women at work combat discrimination. This is the area badly missing from the Lord’s report.

Posted on March 14th, 2013 by Ben Moxham filed under: Blog