Disability and poor health are preventing people who are nearly at the state pension age from working, and says the TUC employment rates for people approaching the current state pension age are low, as just 54% of men in the 60 to 64 age group, and 62% of women aged 56 to 60 being in work.
The TUC says that while ministers believe that increasing the state pension age will lengthen working lives, in actual fact many older people are unfit to work or struggle to find employment, and will end up facing a situation where they are too young for a pension but too old to work.
Currently, almost two in five people approaching the state pension age are ‘economically inactive’, and have not looked for work in the past four weeks.
Long-term sickness and disability were cited as the main reason for this lack of work.
It was also found that people who worked in skilled trades, heavy industry and low-skilled jobs are the most likely to be inactive due to disability and ill-health.
In contrast, managers and senior officials much more commonly cite ‘early retirement’ as a reason for their economic inactivity.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “While more people are working past their state pension age, often as the only way to get a decent retirement income, a far greater number of older people are unable to work due to ill-health or because they are trapped in long-term unemployment. Accelerating the rise in the state pension age will simply push more people into poverty. We will end up with a new limbo zone for people in their mid-60s who are too young for a pension, but too old to have any realistic chance of a job.”