Over 50s should consider getting jobs as takeaway delivery riders, pensions secretary says in back-to-work drive

3 August 2023, 00:01 | Updated: 3 August 2023, 00:03

Mel Stride wants older people to consider delivering takeaways
Mel Stride wants older people to consider delivering takeaways. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Over-50s should think about working as takeaway delivery riders if they are struggling with money, the work and pensions secretary has said.

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Mel Stride suggested businesses should consider opening up flexible jobs normally aimed at younger people to those closer to the retirement age.

He said firms should try and attract older workers back into jobs and ensure they feel at home.

His comments come amid a government drive to get more older people who aren't working back into a career, with the Bank of England fearing that a tight labour market will fuel high inflation.

Read more: Rishi Sunak tells homeowner facing £2,700 monthly mortgage repayments: 'Talk to your bank'

"There are loads of great opportunities out there for people and it's of course good for people to consider options they might not have otherwise thought of," Stride told The Times at Deliveroo's London headquarters.

"What we're seeing here is the ability to log on and off anytime you like, no requirement to have to do a certain number of hours over a certain period of time, which is driving huge opportunities...

"From an employer's point of view in a tight labour market, it's absolutely essential if you want to access all the available talent that you provide as flexible an offer as you can."

Mel Stride proposed that over-50s consider being takeaway delivery riders
Mel Stride proposed that over-50s consider being takeaway delivery riders. Picture: Alamy

Roughly a fifth of adults - 8.6m people - are considered economically inactive and more than 3.4m of them are aged over 50 but below the age of retirement.

Read more: 'There is light at the end of the tunnel': Rishi Sunak assures homeowners as interest rates set to hit 15-year high

As the government tries to encourage them into jobs again, half of older people who stopped working as Covid took hold around the world are thought to be going through financial troubles, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Since 2021, Deliveroo has seen a 62% rise in delivery riders aged over 50 since 2021.

Stride joined the push to convince older people to become economically active again
Stride joined the push to convince older people to become economically active again. Picture: Alamy

Speaking previously, chancellor Jeremy Hunt said life "doesn't just have to be about going to the golf course" for over-50s.

"Many of those people who decide to retire in their fifties will have a life expectancy well beyond 80," he said in January.

"That is a very long time in which a rich and happy life could be one in which work plays a very important part."

The government plans to raise the retirement age to 68 between 2044 and 2046.

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