The 200,000 men in their 50s and 60s who can’t get jobs

Boris Johnson in full flight in the Commons. Picture credit: Jessica Taylor House of Commons

This blog has consistently highlighted the cases of 50s born women who in waiting for their delayed pension have either had to fall back on benefit or struggle on in work with serious health issues.

Now in the last two years – almost since the Covid pandemic started – the same problem is hitting men born in the 1950s and 1960s as they wait until they can claim pensions at the age of 66.

The official figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics comes just as Boris Johnson has been found out again for lying five times about the record number of jobs created during the pandemic.

Boris Johnson’s ” incorrect job figures”

The BBC’s Reality Check Team revealed that Ed Humpherson, from the Office for Statistics Regulation, had sent one of the prime minister’s advisers at Downing Street a letter saying it was “incorrect to state that there were more people in work at the end of this period than the start”.

Mr Johnson has been mixing up the number of people on payrolls, which has gone up with the number of people in work, which has not. They are not the same thing – the payroll number excludes self-employed people, In fact the number of people in work had fallen by 600,000 to 32.5 million – a point taken up by Justin Madders, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port, and Shadow Health and social care spokesman. He criticised the PM for providing in accurate information to Parliament.

An analysis by Rest Less , a digital community which acts as an advocate for people aged over 50, reveals startling increases in people over 50 on the dole queues

Latest figures released by ONS show that half the men who have been on the dole for more than 12 months are over 50. Comparable figures for the 18-24 age group is just 27 per cent.

While the proportion of both men and women who have been on the dole for more than a year has risen from 34 per cent to 41 per cent. This compares with a rise from 14 per cent to 25 per cent for the 18-24 year old group.

DWP plans crackdown on unemployed benefit claimants

Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, commented: “Our analysis shines a light on the many individuals who have so much to contribute to the workplace, but who are being left behind by the recovery. Unemployment amongst people aged over 50 is up 23% compared with pre-Covid levels. The fact that half of all unemployed men aged over 50 have been unemployed for more than 12 months is shocking and a timely wake-up call to government and industry that we need to do more to ensure that our post-pandemic jobs plan supports people of all ages.”

And some of the cases are heart wrenching and are very similar to the plight of 50swomen trying to get jobs while being forced to live on Universal Credit.

Plight of Chris Long

One example is Chris Long from Bedfordshire.

He will turn 60 in March. According to a report from Rest Less:”  He has been out of work for the past three years.  Chris has worked in a variety of roles over the years, most recently as a forklift driver but previously in a security role and in mental health and addiction services.  He has a broad skill set as a result.

” Around the same time as Covid hit three years ago, Chris became unwell with a health condition which was later diagnosed as lung disease for which there is no cure, only symptom management.  He had to give up his job as a result.  Some days, Chris has trouble walking up and down the stairs but there are other days where he feels fit enough to work.  It has proven difficult for him to find work whilst he looks after his health and, in his own words, he says ‘I just don’t know where I fit anymore’.

Chris is currently on benefits but needs to get back to work for financial reasons.  He lives with his partner, who works, and they have an 8 year old daughter to support. “

Given the Department for Work and Pensions is now cracking down on anybody on Universal Credit who has been out of work for more than four weeks and won’t accept any job by reducing benefits the picture for him is bleak.

What employer is going to take on someone on who can’t get up the stairs unless they happen to have a policy of employing disabled people.

What appears to be happening is a double whammy for people over 50.

On the one hand the government is boasting about how successful their jobs programme has been – with the Prime Minister lying about the statistics.

On the other it looks like now both men and women who have health issues over the age of 50 ( and who doesn’t) and find it difficult to stay in work are being confined to a twilight existence until they get their pension which is being remorselessly made later and later in their lives by an uncaring government.

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9 thoughts on “The 200,000 men in their 50s and 60s who can’t get jobs

  1. There are worse examples, although I have similar health problems to Chris Long. I’m 44, out of work for over 16 years now as I had my identity stolen and can’t even get a bank account. Not allowed any kind of benefits either and, consequently, forced to survive as a slave to pedophiles all this time. They’re likely to die soon. No idea what will happen to me after that. Not allowed to talk about it or i get gang raped and tortured for life by jonrunrig and his mates….so I post under an alias!


  2. Thank you for this comment. I began my fixed term appointment as a Work Coach in September 2021. I have not been able to ratify the claims of Mr Johnson and his cohort with the realities of my job as it happens day to day. ‘Moving Deckchairs’ and’ Manipulating Statistics’ are also jobs but they are very different to mine.


  3. I feel sorry for these men……as I’m one of the 3.8m pensionless women. However, the actual numbers of men affected only serves to highlight even more so, the inequality of Govt policies between the sexes….200,000 Vs 3.8m……

    The light at end of the tunnel perhaps is that once men are affected, things seem to get done quicker.

    Thanks for an interesting aspect on this terrible situation of older UK citizens, created so UK Governments can pay for things with NIC that was supposedly ring-fenced for State Pensions.

    Liars, robbers and amoral sorts abound in Parliament.


  4. Another great blog David. Thanks.
    I long ago stopped believing figures from this Government, whether said in Parliament or published. The amount of people seeking work in their 50’s and 60’s isn’t helped in any way by the increases in Pension age. I know, I was born in the 50’s and I can’t receive my State Pension for another two and a half years. The whole thing was nothing more than a money saving exercise by the Tories. The new changes introduced by the DWP recently, whereby claimants now have only 4 weeks to find jobs or have to look outside their skill set for employment or you get a sanction, is just another money saving exercise that will inevitably clobber older people. I’m 64 next year and I would consider it a bit late for retraining and even if I did retrain there is no guarantee that an employer would consider somebody with little working time left over a young person with their whole life ahead of them. When I send in my CV as part of a job application, it’s simple Maths to work out that as I started work in 1974 I am in my 60’s and even though I pass the ridiculous Online Assessments I have only managed to get 2 interviews in the last three months, even though my CV proves I have the experience to step straight into the role. Ageism is alive and kicking in the UK for both Men and Women. I have a suspicion that the new DWP rules are simply a way to force job seekers into Care roles.
    if the Government want a simple solution to reduce the large number of older people on Universal Credit then introduce Temporary Special Measures to reduce the retirement age for both Men and Women to 63 and give us our State Pension. The PM could introduce this without even taking it to Parliament. I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands of older job seekers out there like myself, who have more than enough qualifying years of NI contributions to qualify.


  5. This is a great article and timely too, given that the worst of the pandemic is, hopefully, behind us and we are staring into the abyss of more punitive austerity than experienced to date. Men will in increasing numbers, feel the sting of the betrayal of our gov, as have so many women before them. We need to stop this harassment & abuse of older people who have ALREADY contributed all their lives to the system and the welfare of young and old before them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear David Hencke,
    Age discrimination by bosses starts from age 50, for people trying to find a new job.

    UK have the most disabled / chronic sick working class from age 50, of any rich nation on earth, falling out of work due to ill health by the millions. As Rest Less says, and the 1950s ladies know, it is unlikely they will find a new job and they will stay on the cruel benefit system for years, focused only leaving you to starve.

    Labour’s 2004 Finance Act rose early works pension age from 50 to 55 in 2010, enacted by the Lib Dems Pension Minister inside the Tory government.

    Neither Labour, Lib Dems & Tories between them in government, uncoupled Pension Credit (that does not require seeking work to claim) from women’s pension age, that would have helped men and women from age 60, who fall out of work.

    Disabled people from age 60 are re-assessed for disability benefit and lose it, despite being previously on Life Awards.

    The 1960s born are now turning 60 since 2020, and have pension age 67, from the process of 1995, 2007, 2011 and 2014 pension acts.

    The 1970s born now turning 50 suffer from Labour, Lib Dems and Tories raising early works pension age til 55, soon to increase to 57.

    The core reason for pension age rise is proven by pension industry moaning that 85 per cent of people survived to the new pension age of 66 and so pension age needs to increase faster, meaning both government and pension industry want to take pension contributions and never pay out the service of pensions.

    Grey Swans


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