Action required on poverty levels for older Londoners

Action required on poverty levels for older Londoners
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Action must be taken to protect older Londoners from falling into poverty, Sadiq Khan has been told.

The London Assembly’s economy committee warned the Mayor that older Londoners who wish to continue working need to feel welcome in the capital’s workplaces – and that those getting by on pensions should not be missing out on cash to which they’re entitled.

The committee cited research from Age UK London suggesting that poverty levels amongst older Londoners are the highest in England, with 25 per cent of over-50s in the capital living in poverty, compared to 18 per cent in the rest of England. This is despite the fact that London has the highest rate of over 65s in work in the country.

During its investigation into the issue, the committee heard that the return of more older people to the capital’s workforce could help address labour market shortages, contribute towards the financial stability of older Londoners, and support London’s economy.

In a letter to Mr Khan, the committee said he should develop an ‘Employers Toolkit for older Londoners’ to help workplaces become more “age-friendly”, based on similar examples in other parts of the UK.

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The toolkit could potentially include information on ‘age-positive’ hiring practices and advice on how to encourage career development at all ages. The committee also said the Mayor should lobby the Government to provide more personalised careers advice and specific support for over-50s seeking employment.

For older people who are retired and making ends meet on a pension, the committee warned that despite rising cost of living pressures, uptake of Pension Credit remains relatively low in London.

Pension Credit is extra money, separate to the state pension, which tops up the income of older people if they’re struggling to make ends meet. City Hall estimates that some £246.5 million of Pension Credit is unclaimed in London each year, suggesting that thousands of eligible households are missing out on up to £3,300 each.

Mr Khan has already launched a campaign to boost the benefit’s uptake, but the committee said he should report back to them on the impact of that campaign and inform them of his plans to scale it up, as well as lobbying the Government to help raise awareness of it.

A spokeswoman for Mr Khan said: “The Mayor has received the Assembly’s letter and will be responding in due course.”

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