Heyday creates voice of Britain

AN extra 100,000 retirement age men and women carried on working last year, pushing the total national figure to 1.1 million. This is the highest level since records began in 1992 and the figure could increase to 2.5 million by the end of the decade. With

AN extra 100,000 retirement age men and women carried on working last year, pushing the total national figure to 1.1 million.

This is the highest level since records began in 1992 and the figure could increase to 2.5 million by the end of the decade.

With the Government fighting to plug a massive hole in the British pension fund and announcing that the retirement age could be raised to 68 by 2044, people working longer could become the norm rather than the exception.

Now 10 million people across the country are being asked to have their say on work, ageism, pensions and more as part of a major survey carried out by newly-launched organisation, Heyday.

Backed by Age Concern, Heyday wants to create a powerful voice on what Britons want from modern retirement. LESLEY INNES looked at its early findings.

AS the Government fights to dig its way out of the pension hole by forcing us to retire later, many people are questioning just how they are expected to get jobs past 55.

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Although 80 per cent of baby boomers in East Anglia want to work beyond state pension age, 62 per cent say it is impossible to get a new job within 10 years of retirement.

Some major companies are realising the benefits of an older workforce but many still view the over 50s as a highly-experienced, costly commodity that they can live without.

Now a new membership organisation, Heyday, which was launched last week with the backing of Age Concern, is inviting over 10 million people across the country to air their views.

A survey called Have Your Say, will be the biggest ever research carried out among people in their 40s and 50s to find out their views on the issues affecting them.

The feedback will help shape Heyday as an organisation but will give a valuable insight into what the British want when they reach retirement age.

Gordon Lishman, Age Concern director general, said: "In just 10 years time almost half of the UK adult population will be aged over 50. Yet this latest research shows that 41 per cent of people in their 50s are not actively planning for their retirement."

Ailsa Ogilvie, director of Heyday, said: "The Heyday organisation is part of a 'quiet revolution' taking place in the UK. They want to make the right choices to prepare for a very different kind of retirement to that experienced by their parents and grandparents. They want to create a new life for themselves and their families, but they need to find the financial and lifestyle framework that will allow them to do this."

For some, staying in work past state pension age is a financial necessity. One in four people fear they do not have adequate pension savings and a further 21 per cent will continue to work, as they do not believe the state pension will provide them with sufficient income in later years.

Heyday will offer members among other opportunities:

n a comprehensive library of unbiased information to help them make the right decisions

n representation to Government on issues members really care about

n the opportunity to tap into a social network of like-minded people.

INFO: Anyone interested in finding out more can visit Heyday's website at www.heyday.org.uk or call 0845 888 22 22.

Working beyond 65? Have your say

EAST Cambridgeshire workers believe people should have the choice of working beyond 65 - and not because the Government dictates.

Businessman John Smith, of Littleport is still running his local agricultural businesses at 73 and believes the over 55s offer much more hands-on experience.

"I have no objection to employing the over 55s," he said. "But I think people should have the choice whether they carry on working. It shouldn't be because the Government says so.

"Many of the youngsters coming out of university have qualifications on paper that are not relevant to the marketplace so they find it difficult to get jobs."

Portuguese-born interpreter Marco Castanho, 40, of Newnham Street, Ely cannot see a way to retire before 65, unless he wins the lottery.

He said: "My wife is a carer and most of the elderly people she looks after in the nursing home have had to sell their homes to afford the £400 a week charges. I can't see it's fair that people should work all their lives just to have to sell all their goods and property in later life. I think working until 65 should be enough."

East Cambridgeshire District Council worker

Carole Reed, of Littleport, has worked beyond 60 to top up her pension but will retire next Spring at the age of 63.

"I have a good pension but it was running a little bit short," she said. "I love my job and have always worked full-time. I would be hopeless at home but I'm not going to work on after April. I plan to spend some time bowling."

Annette Johns, 48, of Sutton, a school assistant, is working to pay for her daughter's university tuition fees.

She hopes to work until 60 but has no plans to go beyond retirement age.

"I think 68 is just too long," she said. "You have got to have some time to enjoy life. You might not live until you're 68.

"I've only got my state pension and my husband has an army pension so we should be all right.