Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson raises concerns about gov

Bill Esterson


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said that many people will be forced to do jobs they are no longer able to do, if a blanket increase in retirement age is passed in Parliament.

Speaking in Parliament during a debate on Government plans to increase the pension age to 68, Bill raised concerns about public sector workers doing strenuous and physical work into older age.

Responding to the issue of the demands of many jobs on older people, Bill told MPs: "The honourable gentleman is right about the demands on the police, but what about other public sector workers? It has been put to me by nursery staff, school staff who work with small children, nurses and other NHS staff that they have very physically demanding jobs. Their jobs are not as potentially violent as the job he has just described, but they are demanding. Does he accept that we need to look carefully at the impact on those people too?

"Ashworth hospital and HM Prison Kennet are in my constituency, and people working at both have expressed exactly those concerns to me. As well as potentially leading to damaged health and increased disability, the Bill will discourage people from entering the Prison Service and that part of the NHS?"

Speaking after the debate, Bill said: "How can we expect a prison guard, a nursery nurse, a nurse, or even a teacher to do their job right up to the age of 68?

"These are often physically demanding jobs. They are jobs which most people currently in those posts wouldn't want to do into older age and which most people would struggle to do.

"While I welcome the pension age for fire and rescue workers and for members of the police force and the armed services being fixed at 60, we need to consider other public sector workers.

"I know lots of people in their late 60, 70s and even older who are perfectly fit and healthy. Some of them want to carry on working and that is fine.

"My fear is that people will be forced to work longer when they aren't able to. Not only will they suffer, but also those who rely on the service they provide will suffer.

"And we should consider the impact on younger people if more people work longer and there are fewer jobs available for those joining the workforce.

“There should be a debate about how we pay for an ageing population but making people work longer when they cannot is not going to help. This is a debate which will continue to rage in Parliament and I would welcome the views of any constituents on this issue."

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