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Higher Unemployment Benefit For Older People Under Labour

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/10137924/Higher-benefits-for-older-unemployed-Labour-says.html

Older workers who lose their jobs should get higher unemployment benefits than their younger counterparts, the Labour Party suggests today.

Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, is unveiling the latest development of Labour’s plans for a contributory principle in welfare, where benefits payments vary according to a claimants’ history of work.

Writing for The Telegraph, Mr Byrne identified older people as deserving of more help and support from the State when they find themselves out of work.

Many older workers who lose their jobs feel angry and consigned to a “silver scrapheap” of long-term unemployment, he wrote.

Unemployment among people over 50 has risen, even as overall employment levels have stayed steady. Once on older worker loses a job, they tend to take longer to find a new one.

Labour calculations suggest that nearly half of all unemployed people in their 50s have been unemployed for longer than a year and the over 50s spend longer on the dole than any other age group, claiming for an average of 32 weeks.

“I don’t think there’s anyone quite as angry as Britain’s over 50s. The people who have spent a lifetime raising families or caring or working and paying into the system for over 30 years only to find when they needed help there was almost nothing for them,” Mr Byrne wrote.

“I think social security should offer more for those that chipped in most either caring or paying in National Insurance. Our most experienced workers and carers have earned an extra hand. We should make sure there something better for when they need it.

According to calculations carried out for Mr Byrne by the House of Commons Library, workers over 50s have paid an average of 33 years of National Insurance Contribution. They have each paid an average of £107,000 over their working lives.

Current rules do link NICs payments to JSA levels, but Labour has said it wants to go further and provide a new higher rate of benefit for those with long work histories.

Mr Byrne also said that Britain should learn from other countries who give more targeted help and support for older jobseekers.

Japan, for instance, has specialist job centres for older people seeking work. And Canada offers a training grant for older workers seeking to develop new skills.

Mr Byrne’s pledge today is part of Labour’s attempts to reach out to older voters and show that the Opposition understands their concerns.

Older voters are more likely to cast their ballots in general elections, meaning all political parties are keen to woo them.

After a lifetime of work, many people aged 50 and above are now facing a painful squeeze on their living standards, Mr Byrne said.

“Those born in 1963 were born into a turbulent, exciting world. The Beatles released their first number 1 album. President Kennedy was assassinated. The Profumo scandal shook Britain,” he wrote.

“Now as these workers enter their 50s, they face a turbulent, stressful world of the ‘silver squeeze’. Many care for parents and grandchildren. Many are still providing board and lodging to children who can’t afford to move.

“Prices are going up, wages going down and long term unemployment is spiralling out of control. In fact long term unemployment is hitting the over 50s harder than anyone else.”

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The logic is sound, but linking to the number of NI contributions is a bit arbitrary. Surely it should be linked to the amount of NI contributions? So people who earn well and pay NI for a few years build up a decent JSA for if they need it? You know, sort of like an insurance scheme run nationally...?

Oh wait, that wouldn't appeal to Labour's core voters, better make it favour "carers" and people on minimum wage. Work a few years and we'll save up the JSA you've missed for you and give it to you later.

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A bit overused this lifetime of work phrase. I too have got in 33 years of continuous nic contributions, I am still in my forties and it doesn't seem like a lifetime of work to me or justifying special treatment.

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The logic is sound, but linking to the number of NI contributions is a bit arbitrary. Surely it should be linked to the amount of NI contributions? So people who earn well and pay NI for a few years build up a decent JSA for if they need it? You know, sort of like an insurance scheme run nationally...?

Oh wait, that wouldn't appeal to Labour's core voters, better make it favour "carers" and people on minimum wage. Work a few years and we'll save up the JSA you've missed for you and give it to you later.

ooooo a radical

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They can promise what ever they like. The problem is how are they going to pay for it.

The future for any UK government is going to be taking things away from people not giving them more. As much as they would like to operate outside of reality they will find at some point it is not possible. If it was the whole world would be rich.

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Is the overall intention to do away with the freeloader component of immigrants?

IIRC on R4 the other week they mentioned the reason so many immigrants who have no intention of working flock to the UK and not the other EU nations is because we have a means based benefit system, they have a contribution based one.

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You have to laugh really. So the solution to get older folks off welfare and into jobs is by giving them more money? :blink:

Never mind the fact that anyone in their 50's will either have a no mortgage, or most of their mortgage paid off, they also don't have children to raise (an unemployed 22 year old sitting at home playing a Playstation does not count!).

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Is the overall intention to do away with the freeloader component of immigrants?

IIRC on R4 the other week they mentioned the reason so many immigrants who have no intention of working flock to the UK and not the other EU nations is because we have a means based benefit system, they have a contribution based one.

the risk of changing from means is that all the talent that youve been building up under this system will threaten to move to Switzerland.

Ask yourself the pertinent question do you really want to risk alienating your best babymakers for short term political gain?

Edited by georgia o'keeffe

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I don’t think there’s anyone quite as angry as Britain’s over 50s. The people who have spent a lifetime raising families or caring or working and paying into the system for over 30 years only to find when they needed help there was almost nothing for them,” Mr Byrne wrote.

Oh, really? Any survey data to back that up? I think not.

According to calculations carried out for Mr Byrne by the House of Commons Library, workers over 50s have paid an average of 33 years of National Insurance Contribution. They have each paid an average of £107,000 over their working lives.

Each paid an average? Interesting use of statistics there. I guess that's a mean, not a median.

Current rules do link NICs payments to JSA levels, but Labour has said it wants to go further and provide a new higher rate of benefit for those with long work histories.

Some sort of link seems reasonable but this sounds like vote buying. No details though, naturally.

Mr Byrne also said that Britain should learn from other countries who give more targeted help and support for older jobseekers.

Japan, for instance, has specialist job centres for older people seeking work. And Canada offers a training grant for older workers seeking to develop new skills.

Sounds fine. No details though, naturally.

Mr Byrne’s pledge today is part of Labour’s attempts to reach out to older voters and show that the Opposition understands their concerns.

Older voters are more likely to cast their ballots in general elections, meaning all political parties are keen to woo them.

No, really?

After a lifetime of work, many people aged 50 and above are now facing a painful squeeze on their living standards, Mr Byrne said.

Yeah, but everyone else is fine right? Also, this isn't about the over 50's in general, because those over retirement age would presumably be claiming their pension rather than JSA.

“Now as these workers enter their 50s, they face a turbulent, stressful world of the ‘silver squeeze’. Many care for parents and grandchildren. Many are still providing board and lodging to children who can’t afford to move.

Could this possibly be because house prices are too high? Where's the policy to sort that out, Liam?

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There are rational elements to the idea. As usual, devil in the detail, which you can be sure they'll turn into a corruption-magnet of nightmarish complexity[1].

How about a tapering scale to the pension instead? Then we could abolish the distinction between social security for working age and pensions. A much lower state pension topped up by the same contribution-based supplements that apply to working-age folks.

Oh, wait, same problem.

[1] Not that that makes it any worse than the current system. Is there any other country where you can lose your job and find your contributions record leaves you not merely no better off but actually worse off than someone who never contributed (because of all the perks - for example free NHS dentists/opticians/prescriptions - that you can't get in the first six months of unemployment)?

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Money aside, can't they just start with treating a person with 30 years work and contributions under their belt differently, and not the utter contempt they do now?

I think the 'earned retraining' could be good, where you could go on a useful professionally accredited course, and not one on reading and writing like a 10 year old, or worse.

Let's start with that 'free pass'.

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I think they need to make sure people born here under 25 who have worked one year, can claim working tax credits (speenhamland).

I had 6 years of NI contributions at 22. A fellow factory worker from Eastern Europe had 1. He was entitled to working tax credit, I was not.

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The logic is sound, but linking to the number of NI contributions is a bit arbitrary. Surely it should be linked to the amount of NI contributions? So people who earn well and pay NI for a few years build up a decent JSA for if they need it? You know, sort of like an insurance scheme run nationally...?

Oh wait, that wouldn't appeal to Labour's core voters, better make it favour "carers" and people on minimum wage. Work a few years and we'll save up the JSA you've missed for you and give it to you later.

IIRC in the now distant past you got a national insurance 'stamp' for every month you contributed NI from your salary and we entitled to full, unconditional, unemployment benefit for as many months as the stamp lasted. I forget whether it was Labour or the Tories that changed it to a fixed period of one year - probably the Tories. Since then of course, governments of both hues have further reduced it and attached conditions.

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by the way - these are not boomers as we know them but pre-boomers. Most boomers have either shuffled off or no longer work.

Frank Field back in the early days of labour wanted something done about NI and Unemployment benefit but we know what happened to him as he talked sense.- this

' Job Seekers allowance ought to be graded according to the number of years that a claimant has worked. It could be doubled to £121 for those with, say, ten years’ of NI contributions and increased to £181.50 for those with 15 years. Work is part of their DNA – a more generous benefit payment will not stop them returning to work as soon as they can.'

a little idealistic maybe and how would you distinguish between those who 'worked' those years and those who were credited with them and who were self employed and paid a lower 'stamp'.

reading this thread it reminded me that there was earnings related unemployment benefit back in the seventies and it seems this is what happened

there used to have such a system but it was phased out in the 70’s sometime because it was costing too much, presumably because there was little incentive to get back in to work quickly and it was too costly. it used to pay something like 60% of salary for a few months, tapering to basic benefit after about a year.

Edited by olliegog

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there used to have such a system but it was phased out in the 70’s sometime because it was costing too much, presumably because there was little incentive to get back in to work quickly and it was too costly. it used to pay something like 60% of salary for a few months, tapering to basic benefit after about a year.

In the 80s.

The abolition in 1982 of the Earnings-Related Supplement (ERS) to unemployment benefit, which had been introduced in 1966, left the UK with no element of income support for the unemployed linked to previous earnings.
I think the 'earned retraining' could be good, where you could go on a useful professionally accredited course, and not one on reading and writing like a 10 year old, or worse.

This is a good idea but the problem is that re-training anyone is very expensive. That is why the Jobcentre focuses on courses that can churn out basic certification such as in English and Maths, security licenses and FLT Driving courses.

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What kind of insurance scheme pays out more if you wait longer until you make your first claim? No kind of insurance. Insurance premiums are collected on a per unit time basis because the risk of claiming occurs on a per unit time basis. If a 25 year old has insured his household contents for 5 years and a 50 year old has insured his equivalent possessions for 30 years and then both get burgled, does the 50 year old get more money? Of course not.

If Liam Byrne had said "we want to give more taxpayer money we don't have to unemployed over 50s because our polling figures tell us they don't want to vote Labour" then this would make sense, but it isn't an insurance scheme.

Edited by Dorkins

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What kind of insurance scheme pays out more if you wait longer until you make your first claim? No kind of insurance. Insurance premiums are collected on a per unit time basis because the risk of claiming occurs on a per unit time basis. If a 25 year old has insured his household contents for 5 years and a 50 year old has insured his equivalent possessions for 30 years and then both get burgled, does the 50 year old get more money? Of course not.

If Liam Byrne had said "we want to give more taxpayer money we don't have to unemployed over 50s because our polling figures tell us they don't want to vote Labour" then this would make sense, but it isn't an insurance scheme.

Ever heard of no claims bonus?

Edited by gf3

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If Liam Byrne had said "we want to give more taxpayer money we don't have to unemployed over 50s because our polling figures tell us they don't want to vote Labour" then this would make sense, but it isn't an insurance scheme.

:lol:

“I don’t think there’s anyone quite as angry as Britain’s over 50s. The people who have spent a lifetime raising families or caring or working and paying into the system for over 30 years only to find when they needed help there was almost nothing for them,” Mr Byrne wrote.

“Now as these workers enter their 50s, they face a turbulent, stressful world of the ‘silver squeeze’. Many care for parents and grandchildren. Many are still providing board and lodging to children who can’t afford to move.

This on the back of hearing about friend's friend, the other evening. His friend, mid 20s, hasn't talked to his parents for 18 months after all the pressure they put on him to achieve what they had achieved, and especially ridiculing from the father. (Big family house now worth around £800K). Left home, and works in a low-pressure job, renting a cheap flat. The daughter too, his sister, never seeing the parents having also left 3 years ago for the USA where she's since married, renting and in work. If you want money to fall back on in your mid 50s, save, or tap some of the things you've bought in your lifetime, including downsizing from homes. Liam 'there's no money left' just another reflection on the massive gulf that exists between young and old viewpoints, imo.

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As usual with Labour welfare policy this is fluff.Unless they increase the level where you get council tax benefit etc as well as the unemployment benefit then the extra will go straight back out in lower means tested benefits elsewhere.

There is no problem in unemployment benefit.They could increase it for everyone.The problems in the welfare system are within tax credits,disability/DLA and housing benefit.No mention of any reform there I notice.

The answer is to stop means testing alongside higher amounts for longer term NI payments.However Labour will count "carers" etc in there so anyone with a parent and/or a child will qualify.The left failed on welfare and the right will end up reforming it.Brown made sure of that,just another one of his massive failings.

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As usual with Labour welfare policy this is fluff.Unless they increase the level where you get council tax benefit etc as well as the unemployment benefit then the extra will go straight back out in lower means tested benefits elsewhere.

There is no problem in unemployment benefit.They could increase it for everyone.The problems in the welfare system are within tax credits,disability/DLA and housing benefit.No mention of any reform there I notice.

The answer is to stop means testing alongside higher amounts for longer term NI payments.However Labour will count "carers" etc in there so anyone with a parent and/or a child will qualify.The left failed on welfare and the right will end up reforming it.Brown made sure of that,just another one of his massive failings.

Council tax isnt the problem, its way too regressive as it is, a big part of the Uks problem is that its just about the most centralised govt system outside of N Korea, local taxes, distributed by locally responsible special flowers is a big step up the neanderthal ladder of centralization, its ironic the UK is so anti federal state (EU) when its just about the most federalised country on the planet

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Ever heard of no claims bonus?

People claiming unemployment benefits in their 50s aren't exactly "no claims", are they?

Reducing NICs for people who haven't claimed unemployment benefits for a long time would fit a genuine insurance model, but this is not what Liam Byrne is proposing.

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I welcome this open attempt to buy votes with taxpayers' cash, it's refreshing in it's honesty. Perhaps there could be a special extra payment for those born in 1963 in honour of the Beatles first no.1 album

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