Adrian Beecroft: force older workers to retire to cure youth jobs crisis

Adrian Beecroft, the man behind controversial proposals to make it easier to sack staff,  said removing the default retirement age of 65 last year came at the worst possible time forBritain’s young people desparate to find work in a tough labour market.  Telegraph Jobs’ editor, Louisa Peacock, reports on a filmed workplace debate at the Telegraph.

Mr Beecroft urged the Government to temporarily allow employers to dismiss staff who were 65-plus to create vacancies at the lower end of the corporate food chain.

“In the current point of the economic cycle, allowing 2- or 300,000 more people who get to 65 to carry on working is effectively taking 2- or 300,000 jobs away from younger people. There is a balance there but, in my mind, with the currency of the economy, I’d rather those jobs went to young people.”

Experts warn the longer a young person is out of work the bigger the “scarring effect” where they can become increasingly isolated from society and consigned to a life on benefits. At present more than a million under-25s - one in five young people - are without jobs.

However, Brendan Barber, general secretary of theTUC- who went head-to-head with Mr Beecroft in the Telegraph’s workplace debate - rejected the idea that tampering with older workers’ rights would help the young.

Scrapping the retirement age was essential to prevent discrimination against older workers, he argued, especially at a time when people are being expected to work longer before claiming their state pension.

“You’ve got to make sure older workers have got a decent chance of being able to work in a way they don’t face discrimination,” he said.

But the venture capitalist hit back at Mr Barber for wanting “everything for everybody”.

“Actually you have to make choices, and would you rather have more people over the age of 65 in jobs or would you rather have more young people? I would rather have the young,” he said.

In a heated debate between the two senior industry figures, Mr Beecroft also attacked the union boss for wanting the Government to borrow more money to encourage growth.

“We’re already borrowing £140bn a year and propping up the economy by spending that. So we’re borrowing £7,000 a family every year. How much more would you like to borrow? £50bn more £100bn more?

“Just by borrowing money, you’re not creating real growth, you’re creating artificial growth.”

Mr Barber said theUKhad to borrow more because of the “failure” to kick-start growth.

The video is available on the Telegraph Jobs website.

This article was originally featured on telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

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