Older workers are languishing on the dole after losing their jobs in the recession and not being able to find new ones, unions have warned.
The TUC is concerned about a “steady rise” in the number of people over 50 who are unemployed for more than six months, saying their skills and talents are going to waste.
The union organisation said it will be studying new jobless figures to be published on Wednesday for any sign that older workers are still “trapped” in long-term unemployment.
Last month the number of older people out of work for longer than six months increased by 3,000 to 229,000, while those out of work for more than a year jumped by 11,000 to 134,000.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Every job loss is a human tragedy, but when people are out of work for over a year they risk being permanently scarred by joblessness.
“Long spells out of work can increase the likelihood of mental health problems and relationship breakdown and devastate entire communities.”
He added: “People who have been unemployed for a long time have a much lower chance of finding work again. There is a real danger that the UK’s older working population is being left on the scrapheap.
“Government investment has kept unemployment well below the levels reached in previous recessions, but there can be no room for complacency.
“The government should extend its job guarantee for young people to anyone out of work for 18 months to stop people getting mired in semi-permanent joblessness.”
Taken from Morning Star