Dumped at 50: The grim post pandemic warning from statisticians

Amanda Speedie – one of the millions who would like to retire but now also hit by the job crisis caused by Covid 19.

While the headlines concentrate on soaring youth unemployment the biggest rise in jobless totals are among the over 50s.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics analysed by the group, Rest Less, a jobs and community site for the over 50s. reveal unemployment has soared among this group by a staggering 33% year on year – the biggest percentage increase of all age groups and significantly more than the national average increase of 24%.The figures below tell the story.

Other figures shows that those furloughed over 50 who will later lose their jobs will be 80 per cent women. See this research here. And for the group I have championed through BackTo60 – the women born in the 1950s – who are now waiting up to six years to get their pension – the prospect of getting a job even if they wanted one will be worse.

But this is not just a tale about statistics. It is about human beings whose lives are being made more of a misery during this nasty Covid- 19 period.

One of those is Amanda Speedie, a resourceful and articulate 61 year old, who lives in Cornwall over the border from Plymouth. She was one of the women who did not find out until 2011 that she couldn’t retire at 60. She has since been dismayed by the failure of the judges decision on the BackTo60 court case. She had also tried using a local WASPI template to see if she could claim from the Ombudsman but that got nowhere.

She told me: ” When the decision was made it passed me by I was too busy bringing up a family, didn’t read newspapers ands rarely looked at TV news. If they had written to me I would at least have known”.

She is now divorced but well qualified-having worked in a variety of roles from estate agency to medical secretary to customer service and admin roles. She worked at one stage as a shift supervisor of the River Tamar toll plaza.

No full time job since 2012

She hasn’t had a full time job since 2012. She survives on two small private pensions – worth £40 a week – and by taking on some gardening work for which she earns £45 a week.  She occasionally takes on sewing repair and alterations which might bring her in an extra £10 or £20 a week. She doesn’t qualify for any of the government payments.

Her real passion is to become a writer .Amanda studied for a BA in English with Media Studies and graduated with the MA in Professional Writing in 2007.

She has however some very strong views about what women in their 60s should do and that does not include work.

Rishi Sunak: didn’t even reply to letters about 1950s women poverty

” Many women are single, they can’t get jobs and even if they can haven’t the energy to do full time work ( I did a full time job for five weeks and came home exhausted every night and had to give it up) They suffer health issues and lose their energy after the menopause. Older people also face discrimination from employers who are not keen to employ them.”

She has written twice to Rushi Sunak, the Chancellor, suggesting that he introduced an allowance equal to the pension for women in their 60s. She has had no reply.

” Women could then do things they might want to do like volunteering or looking after their grandchildren or take a part time job if they wanted.”

lost generation

What is alarming is that generation born in 1960s are hitting the same problems. Rest Less had another case of a women in her 50s.

Claire Cassell is 54 from Willenhall near Birmingham.  She lives with her husband.  For nearly three years, Claire was working as a receptionist for a legal firm. 

She was furloughed at the beginning of lockdown and didn’t hear anything from her employer until May when she was notified that they were hoping to get back to work soon. 

By July she hadn’t heard anything more and texted her boss to find out if they were going back to work.  He simply replied ‘No’. 

At the end of August, she received an email telling her her role was at risk of redundancy.  She was made redundant on 1 September.  She is entitled to Job Seeker’s Allowance until March but as her husband works, she cannot claim Universal Credit.
Since then, Claire has applied for 200 jobs and has had two disastrous Zoom interviews.  She says she has a lot to give an employer and has 12 years of work still in front of her.

What this suggests is life is going to get much harder for the middle aged – who might have to face a decade or more of impoverished lives – before they get their pension. The government’s solution is to raise the age before you can get a state pension to 67 and then 68, and some pressure groups like Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Policy Studies would like it to be 75 asap – knowing he as an ex minister and his wife will retire on a huge state pension provided by Parliament and Whitehall.

28 thoughts on “Dumped at 50: The grim post pandemic warning from statisticians

  1. Dear David Hencke,
    The 1960s born have pension age 67, from Labour’s 2007 pension act and Tory 2014 pension act.

    The 1970s born have had pension age 67 since 2007 Labour’s pension act.

    The 1980s born onwards have had pension age 68 since 2007 Labour’s pension act.

    So pension ages 66, 67 and 68 are already law and happening now.

    It is down to Labour in their government from 1997 to 2010, with the further pension age rises to 66, 67 and 68 from 2007 pension act.

    Labour also passed 2004 Finance act that rose early works pension age from 50 to 55 in 2010.

    Media keep saying like pension ages 66, 67 and 68 was something in the future, when it is already here.

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  2. 1950s women either working to feed themselves, others lost their jobs and struggling. All in high at risk group of COVID but totally ignored by this government 😡
    Younger generation desperate for jobs
    Answer is obvious . Retire over 60s with pension so younger generation can have jobs and pride in themselves.
    It’s not rocket science

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  3. the pension system needs restructuring and changed so that people in their 60s can retire if they wish to do so. most employers want young employees and won’t employ 60 yr old plus people. If they bring in a scheme to let these groups retire or drop the pension age to 60 max as we are now classed as vulnerable for all it will provide a lot more jobs for the young which will be needed more than ever after this pandemic it serves no purpose to make us work till 66 it can’t cost anymore to pay a state pension out than paying benefits out. which will happen after the devastation the pandemic as caused and is still doing. Jobs are needed for the young. pensions are needed for older people we have paid in all our working lives and are entitled to them sooner rather than later. Pay up Boris you know it makes sense.

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  4. Heartwarming to know so many out there. This is beyond shameful. Ironically, I’m another west country girl. I’ve posted here a few times, as part of #backto60. I nursed for 40 plus years, raised 4 son’s alone, all successful. I received no nhs pension, as had to choose flexibility of agency to care for my lads. No adequate childcare provision, took other menial jobs to cover cost on top of full time nursing. Inadequate notice, born 1954, worked another 6 years. Cared for both elderly parents, who worked hard all their lives. Nursed small son from acute rta. Had women’s probs re prolapse/bladder, some surgery, soldiered on. Ankle collapsed through over strain, op and left nursing. Not greatly it skilled, reduced to 34 menial/low pas, temp positions to survive till state pension this year. Did make private pension effort, also cashed in to cover time taken to care. No govt support, barr being thrust onto uc for last year, which was demean in and inadequate. Further thwarted by supporting all son’s, till found homes of their own(very difficult. Told to put them out. If you don’t, no assistance, when all you are trying to do is help them and a govt, that don’t provide easy rent facility when working. Working so hard, has left me shattered, emotionally, physically and fighting our corner. I am emerging, trying my best to work on, as pension just covers bills, not life!! I wanted to enjoy retire, now finding employers are amazed by my extensive cv, not believing half of what I have had to do. I will have to find work ongoing till at least 75, if health withstands. Do all I can to uphold that. I could not progress career wise either. I am an only child and have Bourne singled well, but it is a hard, lonely road. Then came covid!! I hope sharing this can be brought to appropriate attention for once and for all. Worked diligently unrewarded.

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  5. Barefoot and pregnant, or preferably dead?

    “Stimulus packages to address #COVID19 are largely gender blind. This crisis is an opportunity to advance long- standing reforms & inequalities…it is striking how many of the key decision-makers in the process of designing and executing the pandemic response are men.” Anita Bhatia – UN Women Deputy Executive Director

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  6. I am saddened and angry by how we have been treated – surely it makes senses financially, for the 1950’s women to receive their state pension to help the younger generation secure jobs. I currently care for my elderly mum, manage to volunteer locally & work full time. Tired is an understatement. If l choose to retire early, l am now penalised by having a percentage deducted from my occupational pension – l feel l’ve been shafted every which way

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    • I am 63 – got made redundant at 59 – have managed to get a part time job this year but so hard to start again at my age – this government couldn’t care less about us – I’m just counting the days until I get my pension – 762 of them !

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  7. Yet another sad story at a time in her life when she should be free of stress. No help from government who created this problem by increasing the state pension age by 6 years over a very short time frame with almost no notification to those affected. This problem will get worse for future generations also. The villains – this government who have no duty of care towards its citizens!

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  8. This is all very worrying. After working all my life I had hoped to receive some state pension at 60 . However I was born in 1954 and eventually had Six years added to my state pension. Whilst I am still fit for work I will recieve my pension in January I had hoped to work part time and help my family for the years after 60. But I have been forced to carry on working full time . I work on the front line as care is and was my profession. Its laughable that I pass young fit furloughed residents on my way to work. I am risking everything to work till my pension. My husband has his state pension and a works one so we are entitled to nothing. We never wanted anything. In my generation a lot of woman worked around their husbands jobs and like me didnt get time to build a private pension. I am still fit and well at 65 but worry about covid ….furlough?… yes please …

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  9. Yet another example of blindness by this government to recognise the plight of 50’s and 60’s women. I am 66 in March but now too I’ll to work. For the last 6 years have struggled along on part time jobs from Estate Agency to Customer Service Jobs.. Incidentally I am no fool having run my own events company for 25 years, but thrown on the scrap heap now. So angry…. Angela Seager

    On Sun, 29 Nov 2020, 12:07 Westminster Confidential, wrote:

    > davidhencke posted: ” Amanda Speedie – one of the millions who would like > to retire but now also hit by the job crisis caused by Covid 19. While the > headlines concentrate on soaring youth unemployment the biggest rise in > jobless totals are among the over 50s. Figures fr” >

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  10. We should have our money paid I was born in 1953 I AM OWED 5 years pension !!

    Bring the age of pension down allowing the younger generation an opportunity to work . Instead of giving hand outs .Every one wants to prove their worth ! GIVE THE YOUNG AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE IT !

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  11. I worked till I was 65 because i just couldn’t go on any longer. I cut down to three days but I had to leave this job because I suffer all sorts of illnesses. My husband was out of work for 7 months this year and we could not get any help with money because I have my state pension and a small private pension. So I have lost out all ways being born in 1954. My pension money has to go on us living, not nice things that you would expect to do when you retire. Why can’t the Government understand our plight.
    I am sickened by the whole Pension procedure and I worked in Payroll and we were not notified of these changes at the beginning. The other thing is, we still paid our NI up until 65. This is also wrong, we should have that at least refunded.
    Feeling sad.
    Irene

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    • I was born in 54 Irene but don’t get my pension until next month, I’m still working and STILL paying NI – you would have thought that they could have allowed us to stop paying NI like we would have done if they hadn’t moved the goalposts, I’ll have paid in a further 6 years of NI when I reach retirement!

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      • Exactly Lizzie. This was something else that they didn’t broadcast. I thought once sixty that was it. They used to send a notification about this but just something else the have forgotten.

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      • that’s why they put the retirement age up the longer we work the more goes into the gov coffers the less pensions they have to pay out its a win win for them and a big drop and a broken promise for us…. should be throughly ashamed of themselves.

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  12. He lives in another world doesn’t have a clue what it would be like to not know where your next £1.00! Is coming from ! A lot of us 50s ladies are on our own and had divorce settlements that took into account us getting our pensions at 60 we have been well and truly shafted and they call it equality !!

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  13. My mother is 63 next month. My father deserted her last year and she has had no money since. My sister and I pay all her bills, but this means I have had to withdraw from the pension scheme at work as I can no longer afford the contributions. I’m a teacher and had my pay cut by 10% in June, for 12 months plus there is no pay rise yet again for us.
    Mum started working at 15 and worked most of her adult life until she gave up to care for her very elderly parents. She could have put them in nursing homes at the expense of the State, but didn’t, so saving the Government tens of thousands of pounds. She’s not entitled to any Benefits and has become ill because of all the stress she’s suffering.
    Thank you for fighting these ladies corner, they need all the help they can get to achieve justice!

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      • There are an awful lot of us that fall through every crack there is and are not entitled to any help whatsoever. It is truly frightening

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    • If your mother lives alone she should get esa if she is in I’ll health and maybe even some sort of allowance from government,check the benefits and work site out they are really good and may be able to help you caroline

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  14. I too am in exactly the same situation having been made redundant at the age of 61. No employer wants to take on someone at that age when there are 10 or more younger people in the queue. I have no income and because of my husbands 2 pensions don’t qualify for any help. I have to ask my husband for money if l want to buy something for myself as money is so tight. My MP was incredibly unhelpful and said that women wanted equality, having never had it all my working and married life, having to ask my husband for money is NOT equality. I found out about the pension age increase in 2011 how was l meant to save enough money to survive that blow. It is criminal what the government have done to us, l will not vote again, the government are quite ignorant of the suffering, humiliation and mental suffering they have imposed on us.

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    • I also only found out in 2011, and 2012 was my last permanent job with 0 hours contracts and temping for agencies since then. These insecure jobs mean no employment rights apart from accrued holiday hours. Women would like equality of pay, but we have not had decades of full time work and workplace pensions so are financially very unequal. We are physically very different, and have been homemakers and part-time workers for too long to have workplace pensions. Couples are a better off with a second income, but it is demeaning to have to ask for money when a woman has worked hard all her life and deserves her own money. The current Chancellor is a wealthy man with an extraordinarily wealthy wife so is unlikely to understand how one manages to live on less than £100 per week.

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  15. I feel for all in this situation I planned to retire at 60 I am now 65 was made redundant 2019 and have had to call on a hard earned private pension and savings to live
    Still have another year to wait and feel that I have been punished for planning and saving for my planned retirement
    I am not claiming any benefit but I feel strongly that I have been robbed by DWP
    6 years pension
    All I ask is my due right to have what was promised

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  16. Yet another reveal of what UK Govt wants to keep hieden. It’s the dance of the 7 veils….of sadness, rejection and discrimination of a
    UK Govt that prefers to ignore a problem by one of their own: John Major. As for best state pension, helping the economy and taking control, the Tory rats have just raided the Treasury pantry and
    multiplied.

    Thank you David for being a conscience where there is none.

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  17. I too became redundant after first lockdown applied for almost 150 jobs got through to quite a few interviews that seemed successful yet to be pitched to the post each time I truly feared the worst but managed to get a part time casual job which was a Godsend but means I do not get sick pay nor can I be furloughed !
    I thought about re training but I am worn out and just cannot bring myself to study for two or more years when I am already 62 yrs old.

    What employer wants to spend money ant time training up a woman in her 60s when thousands of younger women are also seeking employment and are guaranteed to be in the workforce longer ! The goverment created more apprenticeship but non for the over 60s yet we cannot retire until we a 66/67/68/70…..

    As each day passes and the news reveals more and more money is being found to fund this and that i for one strongly feel the urge to take to the streets in protest once this lockdown is over and I hope all the other 50s women affected will also want to join a mass protest too to remind Boris and Co just how badly we are affected by this, suffering mentally and physically behind our closed doors everyday with very little money to live on, feeling forgotten and worn out. Many women working in the care sector and on a casual basis so not entitled to sick pay yet are at great risk of getting Covid,trying our hardest to survive and keep a roof over our heads with not enough to eat and keep warm. What a cruel callous state of affairs when senior citizens are neglected in this way whilst millions of pounds are found for other causes, and in a economic crises MPs see fit to take a pay rise !
    We must continue with whatever bit of strength have to fight this grave injustice not only for our sake but also for future pensioners too with the plans to keep changing the age to be eligible for state pension
    We must protest to protect the state pension from slowly but surely disappearing altogether !

    Stay safe everyone .

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  18. Even before the pandemic employers attitudes to employing the older generation wasn’t good, the government is carrying on with its plan to increase the retirement age but employers attitudes haven’t altered, many over 50’s will find themselves on the employment scrapheap and struggling, they should halt the increase to retirement age.

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