Almost 30,000 North East pensioners now working past retirement age

Many North East pensioners could be choosing to work after 65 to help their children and grandchildren

Lewis Arnold Sean Fahey, secretary of The North East Pensioners' Association (NEPA)
Sean Fahey, secretary of The North East Pensioners' Association (NEPA)

Thousands of over-65s across the North East are still working past retirement age, figures show.

Some 29,000 people of pensionable age in the region are still doing the nine-to-five after the law changed to allow them to stay in their jobs.

And while many may simply want to continue their careers, some older people could be doing so to financially support their jobless children and grandchildren, campaigners say.

Sean Fahey of the North East Pensioners Association said: “Our culture in this region is to bear and share, to help one another in times of hardship, and that is what is happening now.

“It is something that has been raised at our meetings, people talking about having to financially support their children and grandchildren who might not be in work.”

Nearly 250,000 more people in the over-65 age group have opted to stay in work since the Default Retirement Age was abolished on October 1, 2011.

There are now 1,103,000 workers nationally aged 65 and over in work compared to 874,000 in the quarter October-December 2011.

Across the North East, 29,000 over 65s make up 6.2% of the workforce. That compares to a high of 12.5% in the South East.

The figures were released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which said an average earner working one year longer has the potential to boost their pension pot by around £4,500, in addition to earning an extra year’s salary.

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The DWP also said there are gains for the wider economy. It claimed research showed if everyone chose to work one year longer, GDP could increase by 1% - the equivalent of £16bn in 2013.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: “Forcing people to retire at 65 might have made sense in 1925 but, in the 21st century it was nothing short of an outrage.

“These people have a massive role to play in our economy and society and many quite rightly want to carry on using the skills and knowledge they have honed over decades and also pass them on to younger colleagues.”

Mr Fahey said the abolition of enforced retirement was overall a good thing because it offered a choice where there wasn’t one before.

However, he added that as well as helping their families, many are staying on in the office because they can’t afford not to.

“If you didn’t have a private pension you’d be relying on a state pension of about £113 a week which is well below the poverty line of about £170 a week,” he said.

“I’d rather have a position where people could retire in a reasonably comfortable financial situation.”

Some have said over 65s staying in work are keeping younger people out of employment.

Mr Fahey added: “I’m certainly not going to have an argument that older people in a job should give it up and have less of a standard of living.”

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