Retirement age decision not due until summer, warns Lord Young

Any announcement on the future of the default retirement age (DRA) will not be made until the summer, the government has said.

Speaking at an Employers Forum on Age (EFA) conference in London yesterday (10 February), employment relations minister Lord Young said an analysis of evidence the government had received as part of its review of the DRA is under way.

“We will look at the weight of evidence and make a decision in the summer, alongside publishing a survey of employers’ policies and practice with respect to age,” he said.

A consultation will then be held on the proposals with any changes coming into force in 2011, he added.

But David Yeandle, head of employment policy at manufacturers’ organisation the EEF, said he feared any decision would be hijacked by ministers ahead of the general election.

“It would be difficult for the government not to say what its plans are [on the DRA] when the other parties have made it clear,” he said. “There will be political mileage in making an earlier decision.”

The conference heard from several organisations that no longer use a fixed retirement age, including Nationwide, JD Wetherspoon and McDonald’s.

EFA chief executive Denise Keating said: “Ultimately, a fixed retirement age is fundamentally discriminatory, as age is not an indication of capability. A change to the rules is inevitable, and needs to happen as soon as possible.”

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