This week’s On Management column in the FT saw Stefan Stern draw attention to the growth and plight of our ageing workforce (‘Don’t get fooled again – you’re not too old for the job’). He encourages us all to address this issue, saying: “It’s not just Actuaries and pensions advisers who have had their expectations confounded by increased longevity. All of us are having to reassess our views on age.”
We were delighted yesterday to have Professor Phil Taylor, a friend and close associate of the ILC-UK, present some findings from a study he lead into policies facilitating working in later life. The study, based at the Dublin’s European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, looked at measures enacted in 120 organisations to improve the employment situation of older workers.
If someone gave you £200 just before Christmas, what would you do with it? If you’re a pensioner, the Government believes you would spend it on heating your home. We saw this again today in the Chancellor’s Pre-Budget Report, which included: “the continuation of Winter Fuel Payments of £200 for households with someone aged 60 or over, rising to £300 for households with someone aged 80 or over, for the duration of this Parliament.” Winter Fuel Payments are the Government’s response to the continuing problem of Wintertime death and illness among older people. According to Help the Aged, last Winter, more than 25,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of cold related illnesses.
Sitting in a Brussels café after the First Forum on Europe’s Demographic Future, I’ve time to write some thoughts on the previous 36 hours. The European Commission brought together the Forum’s 400 delegates in the Charlemagne building for the first of a bi-annual series to discuss how the continent should respond to demographic change. The Forum highlighted some of the dilemmas confronting the Commission as it tries to prod member states to address the challenges of demographic change in Europe.