Green MEP Jean Lambert has today (Monday 3rd June 2006) welcomed Heyday's actions, supported by Age Concern, to tackle the UK Government's plans for a Mandatory Retirement Age of 65 years.
Heyday has submitted an application to the High Court today seeking a judicial review of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (2006) which is due to come into force on 1st October this year.
Jean, who is the Co-President of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Ageing and a member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, expressed her concern over the limits obstructing those that really want to continue working and contributing to society. Jean said; "To those over 50 years of age our society seems to be designed to benefit the youth without any support or need for the knowledge and skills of the more experienced, mature person. If we implement a Mandatory Retirement Age of 65 years people will simply be faced with a 'dead end' to their working lives and society will loose out on a wealth of knowledge and expertise only experience can provide.
"Without a higher state pension available, and a Mandatory Retirement Age in place many people will be left with no option but to live in poverty. We should all be able to choose when to stop working with a flexible retirement age in place and not a legislation denying people the right to work. "
If Heyday's case goes ahead the High Court will scrutinise the legality of the regulations, which Heyday believes contravene a European Directive outlawing age discrimination and leaves people over the age of 65 without the right to choose to continue working.
The Government now has 21 days to respond to Heyday's application to the High
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.
Heyday: a not for profit membership organisation, backed by Age Concern, for all people who are thinking about planning for or in retirement.
Heyday has been developed by Age Concern following a long period of research and consultation. The membership scheme model reflects other similar successful organisations across the world including AARP in the US and Dane Age in Denmark.
The introduction of Heyday comes as population statistics show that almost half the adult population will be aged over 50 in just 10 years time (source: Government Actuary). As older people are living longer, healthier lives, they must take greater care in planning their financial, social and recreational lives if they are to avoid many of the difficulties being faced today by those in later life. Heyday will provide a catalyst to creating a dialogue with this younger group before it is too late; and focus a national debate on improving the lives of all older people.
About Age Concern
Age Concern is the leading charity in the UK concerned with ageing and older people, and works to improve the quality of life for all older people. Nationally, it is involved in campaigning, policy guidance, research and information, and through its trading arm, Age Concern Enterprises (ACEnt), offers a range of products and services specifically designed for older people. The creation of a membership scheme which attracts a younger audience will allow Age Concern to achieve greater impact in helping prevent many issues facing older people, particularly in relation to financial and health matters.