A quarter of Preston unemployed are over 50

New ONS figures show the number of unemployed that are over 50
New ONS figures show the number of unemployed that are over 50

Nearly one in four jobseekers in Preston are aged 50 or over, new data shows.

Think tank, International Longevity Centre UK, said older unemployed people are hampered by age discrimination and a lack of employer flexibility.

In January, according to the Office of National Statistics, 2,680 people were out of work in Preston, of whom 630 were aged 50 or over.

These were people claiming benefits linked to unemployment – Job Seeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit.

The bulk of unemployed people in the area were aged 25 to 49 – 1,600 in total. Just 450 were between 16 and 24.

Dr Brian Beach, research fellow at ILC-UK, said few older people benefit from effective support in their job search. He said: “The key barriers older people face are ageist attitudes and a lack of flexibility in working arrangements.“Tackling age discrimination must be the number one priority.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “Experienced workers are a huge asset to the workforce and there are now 10.4 million in employment – a record number.”

“Through the National Careers Service and personal work coach support at their local Jobcentre Plus, we are supporting older people to get the work they want regardless of their age.

“In addition, our Fuller Working Lives strategy is encouraging employers to recruit, re-train and retain older workers”.

In Preston, the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits rose by 26% in the year to January 2019, compared with a national increase of 23 per cent.

In Preston, the number of people claiming out-of-work benefits rose by 26% in the year to January 2019, compared with a national increase of 23%.

The ONS puts this rise down to the Universal Credit roll-out process.

A spokesman said: "Under Universal Credit, a broader span of claimants are required to look for work than under Jobseeker's Allowance.

"As Universal Credit full service is rolled out in particular areas, the number of people recorded as being on the claimant count is therefore likely to rise."