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Workers over 50 at greatest risk of unemployment due to Covid, official statistics reveal

WORKERS over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk of long-term unemployment due to Covid-19, official statistics revealed today.

Between December 2020 and February 2021, workers over 50 were more likely to report working fewer hours than usual, including no hours, because of the coronavirus pandemic than those aged under 50, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found.

Those aged 65 years and over were the most likely to say they had worked reduced hours.

More than a quarter of furloughed employees were people aged 50 years and over, equal to 1.3 million workers.

The report found that three in 10 older workers on furlough believe that there is a 50 per cent chance or higher that they will lose their job when the government scheme ends.

Older people who become unemployed are more likely to be at risk of long-term unemployment than younger people, it added.

Older women employees were more likely to have reduced hours because of the impact of Covid-19 than men, the report found.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Older workers who lose their job face significant barriers getting back into employment.

“There is already recognition that young jobseekers need targeted support at this time, but older jobseekers need support tailored to their needs too. This should include retraining rights to help them access wider work opportunities.

“And the government still needs to do much more on job creation. Over a million new jobs could be created over the next two years if the government fast-tracks investment in green infrastructure.”

Karen Watkins of Rowan Consulting said: “When you consider the huge amount of funding and focus that has gone into the younger generation in terms of the Kickstart and various apprenticeship schemes, there does appear to be a huge gap in initiatives that cater for this potentially forgotten generation.”

The over-50s make up an increasing proportion of the workforce in Britain. In 2019, almost a third of workers were aged 50 and over.

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