92,400 Scots now working beyond retirement age

There has been a 90 per cent rise in the number of working pensioners in last 12 years. Picture: Contributed

There has been a 90 per cent rise in the number of working pensioners in last 12 years. Picture: Contributed

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The number of people working beyond retirement age in Scotland has almost doubled since 2004, new Scottish Government statistics show.

The number of workers aged 65 and over has risen by 94 per cent in the last 12 years from 41,200 to 80,000.

A document titled Regional Employment Patterns published yesterday showed that the employment rate amongst the over-65s had risen from 5.2 per cent to 8.2 per cent.

Opposition politicians and old people’s charities expressed concern about pensioner poverty following the publication of the report.

According to the report, there were 92,400 workers in Scotland last year who were over state pension age. The main reason given for remaining in work was that they were not ready to stop work yet (57 per cent). Thirteen per cent, however, had chosen to remain in work to pay for essential items such as bills while 8 per cent remained in employment to boost their pension pot.

Other reasons cited included wanting to take up the opportunity to work flexible hours and wanting to stay both mentally and physically fit.

But the suggestion that the elderly were having to keep working to pay for essential items concerned Labour’s Jackie Baillie.

Ms Baillie said: “It is clear that more and more older people are continuing to work past their retirement age,both the Tory and SNP governments should be asking serious questions as to why more pensioners are staying in work and how that relates to living standards.”

Age Scotland welcomed older people remaining in employment when it was being done for the right reasons but expressed concerns about those forced to work.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: “Age Scotland welcomes that almost two-thirds of those who keep working beyond state pension age say they’re doing so because they’re not ready to retire yet, or they want to develop new skills or experiences.

“However, these figures also indicate that thousands of people in Scotland are working beyond the state pension age to pay for essential items which shows that issues of pensioner poverty cannot be ignored.”

Yesterday’s report also revealed that the number of teenagers who are leaving school to do nothing has risen. There were there were 3,000 more 16-19-year-olds not in employment, education or training (NEETs) in 2015 than the previous year, bringing the total to 23,000 NEETs.

Overall the report showed employment levels in Scotland during January to December 2015 reached a record high 2,575,500, driven by continued increases in the employment level for women.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “These figures show that more over-65s are choosing to continue to work and we believe that remaining in employment past retirement age should be a choice rather than necessity.”

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