Dumped at 50? Disturbing figures as furlough comes to an end

Rishi Sunak, will the furloughed over 50s ever get back to work?

On the day Chancellor Rishi Sunak cuts the support to companies using the furlough scheme to 60 per cent of the wages paid to the 1.9 million people still on furlough, some very disturbing figures are beginning to emerge on the make up of the numbers left.

Both the think tank Resolution Foundation and Rest Less report that it is the older generation rather than the young that are not getting called back to work.

While headlines have concentrated on the serious issue of the mental health of the young who cannot find work, official figures reveal a growing problem for the old.

HMRC data shows that younger workers have been leaving furlough most quickly, with the share of under 18 staff furloughed falling from 13 per cent in May to 7 per cent in June, and from 10 to 6 per cent for those aged 18-24. One-in-ten workers aged 65 and over were on furlough – the highest share of any age group. The Foundation has warned of older workers being ‘parked’ on furlough as younger workers return to work as hospitality reopens.

London remains the furlough capital of Britain, with nine of the ten local authorities with the highest furlough rates in the capital, including Newham and Hounslow where around one-in-eight workers are still on the Job Retention Scheme.

Rest Less, a digital community and advocate for the over 50s, analysed Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Statistics issued by the government on 29 July and found that the total number of furloughed jobs fell from 2.4 million to 1.9 million between May and June* – a fall of 590,000.

Proportion of over 50s furloughed is rising

Whilst the number of furloughed roles fell across all age groups, the proportion of over 50s on furlough has been steadily increasing this year, rising from 27% in January to 34% in June. In contrast, the proportion of under 30s on furlough fell from 29% to 21% in the same time period.

Both sets of figures show that those over 50 are going to find it harder to get a job and build up enough years to claim a full state pension between the age of 50 and 666 or 67 when they can claim the state pension. Being out of work also means that they won’t qualify for a second work based pension either – possibly forcing them to have to claim pension credit if they can.

Charlie McCurdy, Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“The number of furloughed employees has fallen below two million for the first time as the economy continues to reopen. But that is higher than many expected, and a cause for concern as the scheme is wound down.”

Fresh wave of redundancies

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented: “The country is reopening, and the total number of people on furlough is falling quickly – by three million since the beginning of the year.  However, the recovery is clearly not working for everyone, with more than 630,000 people aged over 50 still on furlough and waiting to find out if they have a job to go back to.  This is in addition to the 568,000 over 50s claiming job seeking or out of work benefits. 

When the furlough scheme draws to a close next month, we’re expecting it to be accompanied by a fresh wave of redundancies and another spike in unemployment levels – delivering another blow to workers in their 50s and 60s.


Faced with significant age discrimination in the recruitment process, and no Government equivalent to the Kickstart scheme for older workers – the implications of redundancy for workers in their late 50s or early 60s can be significant.

‘Once made redundant, workers over the age of 50 are two and a half times as likely to be in long term unemployment than their younger counterparts. Rather than being able to top up their pensions in those crucial years before retirement, many will find themselves having to dip into what pension savings they do have – leading to a significant drop in long term retirement income for decades to come.”

Yet the government seems obsessed with continuing to raise the pension age when it is becoming clear that the old generation are facing the greatest difficulty in getting jobs. A new generation will be living in poverty with failing health and that poverty will not end when they eventually get their pension.

14 thoughts on “Dumped at 50? Disturbing figures as furlough comes to an end

  1. Why are things so messed up?, I should have retired at 60 yrs. Unfortunately have never been Informed by the government or received any paperwork at all. Had to learn like everyone ready to finished at 60, we couldnt retire. I have to work till 66 years old. Having started work at age of 15, and had 6 months off when had my daughter. And to be told there was information left at Job Centre and also Citizens Advice Centres. If you working how are you supposed to know about this information. If you don’t go into these places. It’s a JOKE. Also having to pay tax and national insurance for extra 6 years. The government has robbed me of 6 years of PENSION. Have been trying many times to get emails through to my MP. They keep being bounced back and not received. That’s a joke aswel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am 64 and should have retired four years ago. Was made redundant at 57 and still looking. Taken several courses and passed every one. Faced age discrimination, as one agency asked how old I was. When I said 60, I was then asked if I was alright standing all day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am 62 yrs, i was on furlough for 7mths, went back to work and got made redundant, i have been on JSA, but could only claim contribution based for 6mths,now I am having to live of my savings, which are disappearing rapidly.I have worked hard from being 15yrs still got over 3yrs before i get my pension,I apply for jobs but get no reply just feel disregarded and dumped, no help from the goverment after all the years of contribution (tax ,NI) .once my savings have gone i will have to think of selling my home just so i can survive until i get my state pension,

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    • you wont get your pension till you are at least 66/67 i have had to wait 6 years for mine will hopefully get it later this year

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  3. Welcome to the inequalities women have had to face all there lives. 1950’s women now have an extra 6 years to work. It’s a broken Britain we’re in now. Government don’t give a toss about the older generation.

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    • You are absolutely right Kath. This Country is a broken mess and with this incompetent Government in charge there is no light on the horizon. They could solve the issue of the 50’s Women by implementing a Temporary Special Measures order, as Thatcher did when the unemployment figures went through the roof in the 80’s. It allowed (I believe men) to retire at 60 to free jobs for the younger generation. Johnson wouldn’t even need to put the TSM before Parliament, but he chooses not to do it. I also am one of the 50’s Women and still have three years to go to Retirement. I don’t, never have or ever will, believe a single word that comes out of Johnsons mouth. God knows, this Country has had some crap Governments in the past, but this one takes the biscuit. The bloody DWP needs a kick up the pants as well, along with the Coffey woman. What a total shambles it all is, Unless something drastic happens in the meantime, this Government will be in power for over two more years, God help us all.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Been trying to get a job for 4 years, even before Covid. The few replies I’ve had hint at my age, I’m 63 and my lack of recent experience.
    Until my husband left, after 43 years of marriage, I didn’t work because I didn’t need too and I suffer from ill health. Now I live on the charity of my children, who being young, find it easier to get work.

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  5. Dear David Hencke,
    Might you care please, to help me get assistance in starting my Over 50s party (policies from 1 to 100 plus), that would help all ages, but specifically unravel the discrimination against women aged over 50 (the majority of people on furlough).

    All parties, elected or unelected, are prejudiced against women aged over 50.

    Email me please.

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    • Thanks for your email. I do get a number of request to help people to set up or expand new political parties. However I prefer not to promote one party over another on this blog as I am keen to remain an independent journalist. Campaigns are a bit different which is why I supported BackTo60 and CEDAW – but I made this clear this was different from other reporting from the start. I wish you well with your venture.

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  6. Seeking help to start an Over 50s party (policies from 1 to 100 plus) that would offer, by your kind votes win us into government from next general election:

    – £35,000 compensation to 1950s born ladies
    – £380 per week state pension for all pensioners, old and new.
    – Pension age 60 for men and women (1960s born onwards)
    – Age 50 works pension age for manual workers, and early works pension back from 50 (1970s born onwards).

    www over50sparty org uk

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  7. All the comments above are right, we oldies have actually paid in for decades only to have more and more stolen from us. However, having sufferred ‘customer services’ a from home-based, woke, younger generation, it is clear that they are not receiving proper training, supervision, management and discipline. It is only the older folk who were brought up through their careers to adopt a proper standard and only they who can pass the knowledge on. Worse still, I have personally observed that the faulty practices of these untrained youngsters are actually costing their companies money but no-one seems to be policing this. I have formed the opinion that claimed ‘increased productivity’ is being measured in the number of calls taken; no consideration is given to the fact that if they dealt with the call properly the first time or didn’t hang up when the aggreived customer mentioned the word ‘complaint’, the number of calls would be much reduced and the poor customer would not have to wait an hour for the ‘phone to be answered. The only choice the customer has is to move their business elsewhere.

    Given every action the government has taken to deprive the older generation, I find it hard to believe they will not support voluntary euthanasia. Perhaps they are scared that would be the thin of the wedge in stopping them from adopting forced euthanasia to those who no longer contribute to the exchequer and have the gall to expect 40+ contracts to be honoured – just because they paid for them!!

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  8. “Under the current law, the State Pension age is due to increase to 68 between 2044 and 2046. Following a recent review, the government has announced plans to bring this timetable forward The State Pension age would therefore increase to 68 between 2037 and 2039”. Source HM Government website. I suspect that the following may have been missed, due to Labour shortages the government is proposing to raise the Pension Age to 70 in 2030, this is due to skill shortages in certain key sectors of the economy. People can continue to retire early by their private pension although the years needed for full state pension will rise from 35-40 years.
    Unfortunately, the outlook looks bleak unless you can provide yourself with a decent private pension, and of course the nature of casual or low paid employment makes it impossible to fund such a pension. One thing the government as not considered is not everyone is fit and active between the ages of 66-70 in fact far from it, but I suppose unemployment benefit is a lot cheaper for the government to pay the over 65’s than a basic state pension and of course if you have a private pension at 60 or 65, even more savings for the government. So how long will it be before Governments start raiding the pension pot in the not to distant future.

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