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What has the new Government in store for work at all ages?

by on May 13, 2015

After an election campaign which featured ‘hard-working families’ on all sides, we now turn our attention to the new Government and its announcements. David Cameron’s speeches since elected have so far suggested that ‘work’ will be a dominant discourse. For example: “We can make Britain a place where a good life is in reach for everyone who is willing to work and do the right thing. Our manifesto is a manifesto for working people“. And of course the Tories now claim to be the ‘real party of the working people‘.

What might be the implications of this in relation to age?

For younger workers, it seems that the Government plan a ‘learn or earn’ strategy, according to this article here in the Daily Mail. School leavers will be required to take a job or sign up for training as part of plans to prepare young people for the world of work. A Jobs Bill will apparently create 3 million apprenticeships and will ban those who are  under 21 from claiming housing benefit or signing on to the dole. Those young people who don’t have any work experience will be forced to take part in training or work placements as part of a new, tougher Day One Work Requirement. If they fail to comply they will have their benefits removed. Jobseeker’s Allowance will be axed for 18-21 year-olds and replaced with a Youth Allowance that will be time-limited to six months.

I’m guessing that those at the other end of the age spectrum will also be affected. Will it mean working lives being further extended, channelling a discourse that measures ‘successful’ ageing only through economic activity? Or will other forms of ‘productivity’ be encouraged, particularly those that are seen as not competing with younger workers?

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