Mandatory retirement age abolition and the weak pound spell trouble ahead

Posted on: 01 August 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

Cameron and Clegg abolish cumpulsory retirement age but create more problems for junior workers and the recovering economy.

The coalition government is gunning with its policy of reform, but maybe they are running before they can walk. This week, saw the announcement of the abolition of the mandatory retirement age! This may sound like a good thing for all us oldies but it is far from good for the youngsters who are funneling out of school and universities at the rate of 600,000 a year.

It does not take a mathematician to work out that if the ones at the front don’t shuffle obligingly into retirement then the jobs market will look like a car crash for young people.

One thing is not clear from the announcement is how the law will be changed in relation to redundancy – no doubt this will be clarified later when the White Paper is published. Employers are not going to like this change one jot – but it is fair. Us oldies are still good workers even though some may say we are chronologically disadvantaged!

I think the government should rethink this change in policy and work out the detail first and maybe do it in two stages – raise the retirement age to 70 and then look again in a couple of years. This way those on the retirement route can rethink and maybe delay their plans and it would give employers time to engage with government to work through the implications and the detail. Most importantly it would give the recovering economy time to create the jobs needed to give the youngsters a fair chance at employment.

Think again boys or this may backfire on you and hurt the very ones you are trying to help. More haste less speed!

Weak pound has the tourists flocking to UK

I had a leisurely day (well nearly!) with my daughter yesterday in Oxford! Lovely city, but my God, the tourists! The weak pound has made the UK the destination of choice for most of the young people of the world.

The Oxford colleges are bursting at the seams with foreign students (an eclectic multinational mix of Italians, Chinese and Japanese). The chatter and noise they make is unbearable. Add to this the pushing and shoving as we walked through the throng of bodies, I was quite glad to get back to the car.

Now, this is all very good for the economy, but I really felt sorry for the residents of Oxford – they really suffer in our name! Once you get over all of this 'Oxford is everything London is and more' – the reality is it’s smaller, much smaller! It's a city with restaurants galore, art galleries and museums, lovely shops and little artisan-type shops that sell things so obscure, it’s hard to see how they can make a living. One was a yarn shop with literally hundreds of different thread, yarns and wools. I had long thought tapestry, knitting and embroidery were dead skill – but no, it's alive and kicking in Oxford.

Home after eight hours of being deafened and jostled to a restful nap before dinner – a good outcome and restful day from what had been a very stressful July.

Onward now back to London and work – for England and King Harry …


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