NEW POLL: Is the Coalition right to allow us to work beyond 65?

This was the statement issued by Lib Dem Employment Relations Minister Ed Davey this week when announcing the end of the default retirement age of 65, and give people the freedom to choose their own retirement date:

With more and more people wanting to extend their working lives we should not stop them just because they have reached a particular age. We want to give individuals greater choice and are moving swiftly to end discrimination of this kind. Older workers bring with them a wealth of talent and experience as employees and entrepreneurs. They have a vital contribution to make to our economic recovery and long-term prosperity.”

Is it the right decision, with employees now able to decide for themselves? Or simply an inevitable one, with rising life expectancy and fewer people being able to afford to retire at 65? Or the wrong choice, with employers finding it more difficult to end the employment of those who are no longer able to perform as well as they used to, while blocking the opportunities for younger people?

The poll is now live (right-hand column), and you can use the comments thread to explain your working …

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15 Comments

  • John Richardson 31st Jul '10 - 5:41pm

    with employers finding it more difficult to end the employment of those who are no longer able to perform as well as they used to

    If someone’s not up to the job that can be judged objectively without reference to age. This is a simple equality issue. Discrimination based on age is as wrong as discrimination based on gender or race.

    while blocking the opportunities for younger people

    Hasn’t the “finite supply of jobs” argument been thoroughly refuted enough times?

  • Bit of a silly poll. If you were inclined to vote no then your probably in the wrong party.

  • Andrew Suffield 31st Jul '10 - 8:50pm

    Sure, why not? I don’t really see how anybody could object to this.

  • Sandra Merry 1st Aug '10 - 7:25am

    Sorry but I am a liberal thinker and still believe it’s wrong.
    I have 2 graduate sons who desperately want to work and have a lot to offer but
    have found it impossible to get regular work that
    fully makes use of their education and abilities.
    What’s wrong with a bit of forethought in managing a fixed retirement age with knowledge
    transfer to next in line and a steady stream of places for new workers?
    I recognise there are those who want to keep working but fear that many
    will have to keep on to ensure a decent standard of living which is totally against my liberal principles.

  • Jane Elwood 1st Aug '10 - 9:08am

    Ah yes. The “freedom” to work past 65 – whether we want to or not.

    Regardless of whether the move is good or not, the spinning doublespeak of Davey is quite nauseating.

  • Sir Alan Beith
    Malcolm Bruce
    Vince Cable
    Sir Ming Campbell
    Andrew Stunnell

    All the above have passed the mandatory scrapheap age. Their electorates obviously didn’t think they were “too old”.

    If the Labour Party objects to these proposals (and I don’t think it will), they would have to explain why Gerald Kaufman (80) and Dennis Skinner (78) are still MPs.

    Should we kick ageism out of politics? I say we should. The most prominent victim of political ageism in recent times is Ming Campbell, who was hounded out of the Lib Dem leadership because he was “too old”. People who wouldn’t dream of attacking people on grounds of race and gender, were uninhibited about mocking Ming’s grey hair. I believe, too, that the Tories in Weston-super-Mare used age to attack Brian Cotter.

  • NEW POLL: You gov sunday times-Lib Dems on 12%.Con 42%.Lab38%.The more you feed the parasitic beast the weaker you become.

  • NEW POLL: You gov sunday times-Lib Dems on 12%.Con 42%.Lab38%.The more you feed the parasitic beast the weaker you become.

    I guess you believe the Polls during the General Election too!!!!

    Also;
    Strange – Two election wins (Gains for Lib Dems) near where I live in North Easrt Somerset this week- perhaps no-one has told the voters!!!!

  • Christine Headley 1st Aug '10 - 11:44am

    @dom – I don’t agree. If you vote no, you are more likely to be young or have children who are/will shortly be looking for a longterm job. With both this and the IDS welfare changes, I am strongly of the opinion that those currently seeking jobs – particularly the young ones – need to find them before we block off more ways of getting one or further impoverish benefit recipients. If you consider that the Labour Party’s record is actually good in this, you are on the wrong board.

  • “If someone’s not up to the job that can be judged objectively without reference to age”
    …So leading to thousands of industrial tribunals by those who want to challenge the unfairness of a decision against them, and employers keeping employees in sinecure jobs until they the employee is so decrepit that the outcome of any tribunal is without doubt.

    “Hasn’t the “finite supply of jobs” argument been thoroughly refuted enough times?”
    Apparently not enough times to actually effect the real world – a 9% unemplyment rate here in West Yorkshire, aged 47 I’ve only worked 13 months out of the last 30, and I do not believe that having an insufficiently large workforce is the problem.

    “If you were inclined to vote no then your probably in the wrong party.”
    Yes, a view I am beginning to share. I’m a LD member of eight years standing, and voted No. I will very possibly not renew my membership, although this is only oneof the issues causing my lack of commitment.

  • It is kinder for a person who is not up to the job to retire at a mandatory retirement age than to be dismissed because of their lack of competence. Also this proposal will block opportunities for younger people.

  • John Bryant 1st Aug '10 - 3:38pm

    Of course we should not force people out of work just because they have reached a certain biological age. And those who seek an easier way out for managers to lose people who are no longer competent should ask why these people are in management in the first place. If they can’t take objective decisions about an employee’s suitability, or if they don’t have the courage to dismiss on competency grounds, they shouldn’t be in management in the first place.

    Finally, why should we discriminate against someone on age grounds by making them retire, in order to discriminate in favour of someone on age grounds because they are young? Age discrimination either way is wrong. Hiring or firing should be undertaken on relevant grounds – the suitability of someone to do the job or not.

  • Bob Stevens 1st Aug '10 - 10:10pm

    “Of course we should not force people out of work just because they have reached a certain biological age. ”

    Of course we should. Unless we allow the people at the other end of their working life to stay in education in perpetuity. Work and work and work til you die. And the only ones smiling are the sun-tanned toffs.

  • George Kendall,

    If you wish to continue to deprive a section of the community of a fundamental human right, then I think you are going to have to come up with something rather more substantial. You will be aware, I imagine, that similar phoney objections were made to the abolition of slavery, the outlawing of race discrimination in the workplace, equal pay for women, etc. The mandatory scrapheap age was abolished in the United States in the 1980s, and none of the dire consequences you are warning against have come to pass, as far as I know. Your suggestion that over 65s should have their contracts of employment compulsorily renegotiated is frankly crazy. If implemented, this would lead to older people being used as a source of cheap labour.

    Most private sector employers are incorrigeably ageist, just as they are incorrigeably racist and sexist (I once had to sit in on interviews for warehouse workers, and the comments made privately by the interviewers could have come from the Ku-Klux-Klan). The issue here is one of enforcement, something the state is not that good at doing, and in the case of age discrimination, doesn’t do at all. Employers found guilty of any kind of unlawful employment discrimination should be given a bloody good hiding (metaphorically, of course). That is the only way to bring them into line.

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