Charity Age Concern slams Civil Service hypocrisy over retirement age

Government departments have been accused of “a shocking level of hypocrisy”  over ageism after claims that civil servants could be retired against their will.

The charity Age Concern said it had uncovered information showing that a number of departments had retained a mandatory retirement age, even though firms were being urged to let staff choose when they stopped work.

Parliamentary questions have revealed that the Privy Council Office, the Home Office, the Cabinet Office, the Treasury, the Departments of Health, Trade and Industry, Constitutional Affairs, International Development, Culture, Media and Sport, and Transport and all members of the senior civil service have a compulsory retirement age of 65.

Age Concern argues that this policy goes against statements from ministers following last year’s legislation aimed at outlawing ageism in the workplace.

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: “Ageism is wrong, and the government acknowledges it is wrong. Yet the government’s own departments are forcing people over 65 to stop working.

“Not only is it unfair, it shows a shocking level of hypocrisy within the government in terms of its attitude to ageism. This prejudice means that people who want or need to work for whatever reason are denied that right.”

A DTI spokeswoman said: “We use the age of 65 for business planning purposes but anyone who wants to work over the age of 65 has the right to request to work longer.”

Age Concern – through its membership organisation Heyday – has brought a legal challenge to provisions of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations that allow mandatory retirement ages.


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