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Equality Commission is right to call for compulsory retirement age to be scrapped - Liz Lynne

January 27, 2010 2:34 PM
Originally published by Liz Lynne

Liberal Democrat Euro MP Liz Lynne, a long time campaigner against age discrimination, has welcomed a call by the Equality Commission to abolish compulsory retirement ages.

The commission has called for "fundamental changes" to employment policies to open up opportunities for older people to work and tackle the challenge of an ageing workforce.

The Commission is pointing to research which shows that extending the average working lives by 18 months would inject £15bn into the British economy.

Speaking from Brussels today, Liz Lynne said: "There is now a growing consensus that it is unfair and wrong to throw people on the scrap heap at 60 or 65. We must end the. sudden cliff edge of retirement that forces people to stop working at a certain age whether they want to or not, whilst of course maintaining an age at which people can receive a pension.

"I am glad the Equality Commission has joined in this debate. As research findings now show, forcing people to retire when they are fit to continue is not only unfair, it is also bad for our economy.

"We simply cannot afford to go on losing people from the workforce who wish to go on working and paying taxes for some years, maybe just part time. The loss of expertise and experience is huge.

"This is the right move for the UK economy, for UK business and for the rights of older people. We now need the government to get on and implement it."

Deputy PM Harriet Harman has recently again announced that she is minded to reform the mandatory retirement age but many campaigners believe the government is guilty of a lot of talk but little concrete action.

ENDS

Note: Liz Lynne, now First Vice- President of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, has been a leading campaigner against mandatory retirement ages. In 2000 she helped to draft the Parliament's Employment (Age) Directive that sought to outlaw discrimination on grounds of age in the workplace.