Join North East Lincolnshire’s army of energy switchers

Posted August 20, 2014

North East Lincolnshire Council is inviting the borough’s households to join an army of energy switchers and battle the bills by signing up to The Big Community Switch.

It comes as a new energy group buying scheme opened for registration this month at www.nelincs.gov.uk/TheBigCommunitySwitch.

And there’s a year’s free electricity and gas on offer to people who get five friends or family members to sign up too (terms and conditions apply).

Administered by the UK’s leading collective switching expert, iChoosr Ltd, the most recent auction held in June the average saving per household to take up their offer is £234.36.

North East Lincolnshire households wanting to register for the next auction can submit their details at www.nelincs.gov.uk/TheBigCommunitySwitch before 11.59pm on 13 October 2014.

If you don’t have access to the internet, staff at your local library and Children’s Centre can help, but remember to bring a copy of a recent gas and electricity bill with you. Friends and family might also be able to assist as up to five separate addresses can be registered with the same email.

Alternatively you can contact the Home Energy Team at North East Lincolnshire Council on 01472 324782 with your latest fuel bill and they will be able to register for you.

Once households have had the opportunity to register their interest, a reverse auction will be held to invite energy suppliers to compete with their best offers. The scheme is free for households to join and there is no obligation to take up the winning supplier’s tariff offer. The scheme is open to all households which pay monthly, quarterly or via a pre-payment meter.

You could win one year’s free electricity and gas up to a maximum value of £1,200 if you switch suppliers get five or more new registrants to register for the current auction. To be entered into the draw residents must have referred at least five new registrants to the scheme via their ‘tell-a-friend’ link AND they must go on to switch supplier. iChoosr will notify all registrants with five or more referrals within one week of the auction day that they are to be entered into the prize draw.

On November 25 2014 (the day after the acceptance period has ended), iChoosr will pool registrants with five or more eligible referrals AND who have switched to a winning supplier from the current collective energy switching scheme. The winner will be drawn from this group of switchers. Full terms and conditions at www.nelincs.gov.uk/TheBigCommunitySwitch.

The group buying phenomenon is growing in the UK. So far schemes run by iChoosr on behalf of councils have attracted over 350,000 household registrations and over 40,000 households have saved over £6.5m by switching. The average saving for those switching is in 2014 through collective schemes run by iChoosr is £215.

Filip Vissers, UK Country Manager, iChoosr commented: “Group buying, as promoted by local councils, is storming in to the consciousness of households throughout the country. People want help in finding a good deal on their energy bills and most people are comfortable seeking this help via their council. Many who find the switching process baffling end up doing nothing and paying more than needed.

“Group buying offers a straight forward solution. The more people who register, the more interested the suppliers are in winning them as customers and so the better the deal they offer. People who register are offered a deal after the auction and they choose whether to take it or not. Yes or no. Simple, but you have to register to have a chance to take up the saving so register today and tell your friends, family and neighbours to do so too.”

European footballer shows great promise

Posted August 20, 2014

Aptrick presentation

Summer sports course proves popular with European visitor.

A YOUNG German footballer has risen through the ranks of a summer holiday skills course in Grimsby and will next year return to the scheme as a volunteer coach.

Patrick Doering, aged 14 and from Birkenau near Mannheim, has been attending Bradley Football Development Centre’s week-long football course for the last four years during the summer holidays when visiting his grandparents in the town. Next year he will be too old to take part in the course but his coaches have been so impressed with his attitude they have invited him back to help coach youngsters on the scheme.

A keen goalkeeper and former attendee of the competitive Frankfurt and Bayern Munich academies, Patrick has shown great interest, commitment and skill in the town’s popular course for budding young footballers.

Patrick, whose ambition is to play as a professional footballer, said: “I’ve really enjoyed getting involved and working with the coaches on the course. It’s been great exercise and also a lot of fun. We do tests throughout the week such as skills challenges and penalty shoot-outs, as well as compete against each other in a friendly mini-league event.”

Patrick won the skills challenge for his age range this year, scoring a record 297 points out of a maximum 300.

Patrick added: “I’m looking forward to coming back next year and working with the coaches on the programme, it’ll be a new experience for me but one that I’m sure I’ll get a lot out of.”

Glyn Cook, one of Patrick’s coaches during the week, said: “Patrick is easy to work with; always enthusiastic and encourages others in his team and group. When he’s here all the other kids look up to him. He’s a great role model.”

Lincs Inspire’s Bradley Football Development Centre has this summer worked with a total of 170 young footballers during two week-long football courses. Certificates have been awarded to all the young people for their commitment and enthusiasm, with trophies and medals handed to those individuals who have gone the extra mile.

The October half term football course takes place from Monday, October 27 to Friday, October 31. It is for children aged five to 14 and takes place each day from 10am to 3pm. The week’s course costs £30 and ‘extra time’ activities are available each day for £2 from 8:30am to 10am or from 3pm to 5:30pm.

To book a place contact (01472) 325300 or email [email protected]

Feet first into lifeguard training at Grimsby Swimming Pool

Posted August 20, 2014

Newly qualified lifeguard encourages others to train.

A PART-TIME cleaner and entertainer is urging other people her age to dive into new training opportunities having just completed her National Pool Lifeguard qualification at the age of 52.

Sue Braithwaite from Grimsby works as a cleaner at the town’s Scartho Road pool by day and by night can be found belting out Shirley Bassey tunes in retirement homes around the area.

Her employees at Lincs Inspire’s Grimsby Swimming Pool have been encouraging Sue to sign-up to the lifeguard training course after seeing her become a confident swimmer from using the facilities regularly for 12 years.
Sue, who initially did the training for her own accomplishment, is now looking forward to putting in some extra shifts pool-side. She said: “I’ve been working for Grimsby Swimming Pool for four years as a cleaner and thoroughly enjoy entertaining older people with my Shirely Bassey cover-act! I wouldn’t want to give any of this up, but they’ve been asking me for a long time now to try the course, so I thought I’d give it a go.

“It was intense training over a full week where we covered all sorts of pool safety techniques including hygiene and CPR. In fact, I thought that I would find the theory exam the most challenging, but I took it all on board – as you get older you worry that you’re going to struggle with these things.
“Having passed the course I feel complete. I am proof that you can still do things when you’re a certain age. If anyone is thinking about undertaking any form of training they should definitely go for it. I feel 10 years younger!”

Danny Phillips, centre manager, said: “Sue has always been a confident swimmer and we’re immensely proud of her. We are delighted we could help with her own personal and professional development and look forward to seeing her on shift as one of our lifeguards. She’s an inspiration to others.”

Anyone thinking of become a lifeguard can book onto the next National Pool Lifeguard Qualification training course taking place from Monday, September 1 to Friday, September 5 at Grimsby Swimming Pool. Places are limited. The course costs £160 and runs from 8am to 5pm each day with an assessment by an independent RLSS UK Trainer on the final day.

The industry standard lifeguarding qualification covers CPR skills, rescue and spinal injury management, legal requirements and safety in respect of flumes, waterslides and play equipment.

There are a number of course pre-requisites for attendees, including being a competent swimmer and being physically fit. For further information, an application form and payment details contact Mark Byron on (01472) 323500.

Vince Cable visits Emmerdale set to launch apprenticeship campaign

Posted August 20, 2014

Vince Cable today (20 August 2014) visited companies across Leeds to celebrate the launch of the government’s new campaign calling on young people to ‘Get In. Go Far’ by choosing an apprenticeship.

The campaign, which is being supported by top employers, coincides with the introduction of 40 new employer-designed apprenticeships in sectors including engineering, hospitality and the legal profession.

To celebrate the launch of the campaign, Business Secretary Vince Cable visited ITV studios in Leeds to meet apprentices gaining hands-on experience while working towards a nationally recognised qualification. There he was given a behind these scenes tour of the set of ITV’s long running soap Emmerdale to see how apprentices bring one of the nations most watched shows to life. 

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Speaking at the set of Emmerdale, Vince Cable said:

“For too long there has been a divide between university and vocational education which has been damaging for both employers and young people. Placing university degrees and apprenticeships on an equal footing will help to break down barriers and better meet the needs of business.

“Since I became Secretary of State we have expanded apprenticeship numbers greatly, particularly higher apprenticeships. The reforms to apprenticeships enable employers to design and deliver apprenticeships that meet their needs, giving young people valuable qualifications and helping them to build successful careers from television production to advanced manufacturing.”

Later in the day, Vince Cable moved on to visit Siemens Mechanical Drives and Arla Foods before rounding off the trip with a visit to translating company thebigword’s HQ in Leeds.

At Siemens Mechanical Drives the Business Secretary was able to meet some of the apprentices working in the company’s Leeds factory. Siemens currently employs 200 apprentices on its highly successful scheme and is in the process of creating at least 150 more places this year. The company has recently been working with Kodak, Grant Thornton and Leeds City Council to submit plans to the government for Leeds’ first university technical college that will specialise in advanced manufacturing and engineering.

Vince Cable added:

“Engineering is central to Britain’s economic future and as the economy recovers the need for more skilled engineers across all the regions of the UK will continue to grow. It is therefore extremely welcome that such an important business hub as Leeds is playing a part.

“This university technical college will not only provide young people with a structured and supported technical education, but with the support of companies such as Kodak, Siemens and Unilever it will play a pivotal role in furnishing this great city with its next generation of engineers.

“This is good news for Leeds and great news for the wider economy.”

It was then the turn of apprentices working at global dairy company and cooperative Arla Foods to show off their hard work and give the Business Secretary a tour of their dairy laboratories. Home to some of the UK’s leading dairy brands, including Cravendale, Anchor and Lurpak, Arla Foods is one of a number of dairy companies who work with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink to deliver the Eden Engineering Apprenticeship scheme. The scheme brings together employers from across the industry to provide an advanced apprenticeship for maintenance technicians and engineers, helping to produce world class staff for tomorrow’s dairy industry.

The final stop on the tour was to the Leeds headquarters of thebigword, one of the world’s top-20 translating and interpreting companies that has 11 global offices and nearly 500 employees working with more than 8,000 linguists worldwide. More than 120 apprentices have been through thebigword’s programme since its launch in 2011 with almost 65% moving in to full-time jobs with the company. Last year, thebigword won ‘Large Employer of the Year’ in the Leeds City Council Apprenticeship Awards and was named a ‘Top 100 Apprentice Employer’ nationally.

The government’s new apprenticeship campaign showcases the variety and quality on offer. The campaign, with the strapline ‘Get In. Go Far’ features real apprentices in varied sectors giving their own thoughts on their experiences. The apprentices, shown in the adverts taking selfies in their places of work, will appear on TV, posters, digital channels and in print media.

The new apprenticeships which have been launched are from a broad range of industries and include roles such as, a land-based service engineer, senior culinary chef, solicitor, journalist and a dental practise manager. Throughout the process over 200 employers and training providers were involved in designing the 40 new apprenticeship standards that have been approved.

This forms part of the apprenticeship trailblazer project which was launched in October 2013, the second phase of which was launched during National Apprenticeship Week in March 2014. It aims to ensure every apprentice in England is enrolled on a scheme which has been designed and approved by employers by 2017 to 2018.

Apprenticeships are already proving to be a successful and viable option as opposed to going to university. Since 2010, there have been over 1.8 million apprentices in England and this number continues to grow. Research has also shown that 86% of those who did an apprenticeship stayed in work afterwards, 67% with the same employer. A survey with employers also found that 96% of businesses which have taken on an apprentice believe their company has benefitted.

For more information on apprenticeships and the apprentices that are being featured in the campaign, visit www.apprenticeships.gov.uk.

Get In and Go Far with new apprenticeships

Posted August 20, 2014

In a campaign launched today (20 August 2014) government and top employers are calling on young people to ‘Get In, Go Far’ by choosing an apprenticeship. This coincides with the introduction of 40 new employer-designed apprenticeships in sectors including engineering, hospitality and the legal profession.

These new opportunities will give people the chance to earn whilst they learn on apprenticeships which have been designed by businesses in a variety of sectors.

Whilst visiting the ITV studios in Leeds to meet apprentices working on the set of Emmerdale, Vince Cable Secretary of State for Business said:

“For too long there has been a divide between university and vocational education which has been damaging for both employers and young people. Placing university degrees and apprenticeships on an equal footing will help to break down barriers and better meet the needs of business.

“Since I became Secretary of State we have expanded apprenticeship numbers greatly, particularly higher apprenticeships. The reforms to apprenticeships enable employers to design and deliver apprenticeships that meet their needs, giving young people valuable qualifications and helping them to build successful careers from television production to advanced manufacturing.”

The campaign launched today showcases the variety and quality of apprenticeships on offer. With the strapline ‘Get In, Go Far’, it features real apprentices in varied sectors giving their own thoughts on their experiences. The apprentices, shown in the adverts taking selfies in their places of work, will appear on TV, posters, digital channels and in print media.

To mark the launch of the campaign, Skills Minister Nick Boles has been visiting apprentices to see for himself the impact the scheme is having on young people. He took ‘selfies’ with the apprentices at Google which will be pinned to an interactive ‘work selfie’ Pinterest map, plotting the many apprenticeship opportunities across the country.

One such apprentice, Michelle, shows how far you can get with an apprenticeship. She gained a first-class honours degree in project management after deciding to bypass university and go straight to BAE Systems where she completed a 5 year apprenticeship.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

“As another group of young people achieve their GCSE and A Level results, there has never been a better time to consider an apprenticeship. Through an apprenticeship young people can achieve a degree and work at some of the biggest companies in the country.

“The new campaign features some great success stories which show exactly how far an apprenticeship can take you. I would recommend any young person that isn’t sure what to do next, to look at some of the new and exciting apprenticeship opportunities available to them.”

The new apprenticeships which have been launched are from a broad range of industries and include roles such as, a land-based service engineer, senior culinary chef, solicitor, journalist and a dental practise manager. Throughout the process over 200 employers and training providers were involved in designing the 40 new apprenticeship standards that have been approved.

Mustafa Mohammed, Chair of Dental Health Trailblazer who have published apprenticeship standards today, said:

“I am delighted to be involved in such an exciting project. The Dental Apprenticeship programme will provide fantastic learning opportunities for people across the UK, enabling many to build long and successful careers.

“Employers will be able to ‘grow their own’ talent, ensuring the next generation of professionals have all the practical skills and experience needed to continue the high standards expected in dentistry. This in turn will also help combat the falling numbers of British technicians, strengthening the dental industry and UK economy.”

This forms part of the apprenticeship trailblazer project which was launched in October 2013, the second phase of which was launched during National Apprenticeship Week in March 2014. It aims to ensure every apprentice in England is enrolled on a scheme which has been designed and approved by employers by 2016 to 2017.

Apprenticeships are already proving to be a successful and viable option as opposed to going to university. Since 2010, there have been over 1.8 million apprentices in England and this number continues to grow. Research has also shown that 86% of those who did an apprenticeship stayed in work afterwards, 67% with the same employer. A survey with employers also found that 96% of businesses which have taken on an apprentice believe their company has benefitted.

For more information on apprenticeships and the apprentices that are being featured in the campaign, visit www.apprenticeships.gov.uk.

New recruit joins Real Deal campaign and the fight against fakes in North East Lincolnshire

Posted August 20, 2014

A weekly Cleethorpes car boot sale is the latest recruit to North East Lincolnshire Council Trading Standards team’s Real Deal scheme.

The scheme was launched three years ago in a bid to stamp out the illegal trade in counterfeit goods and to ensure businesses are fully compliant with the relevant laws.

Paul Croft, organiser of Parks Car Boot sale, which takes place on Wednesday mornings behind Pennells garden centre, Humberston Road, Cleethorpes, is the latest to sign up.

Other markets and car boot sales in the borough that have committed to the scheme include Cleethorpes Street Market, Grimsby Top Town Market, Grimsby Farmer’s Market, Grimsby Christmas Market and Oaklands car boot sale. All of the premises and markets signed up to the Real Deal scheme have been given signs to display informing shoppers about fake goods.

Fake goods are often cheap, low quality imitations of genuine products and those who profit from them ultimately damage the business of popular brands and legitimate traders.

Trading in counterfeit goods risks a penalty of up to 10 years in prison or an unlimited fine.
Information about fake goods on sale in North East Lincolnshire should be reported to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

Neil Clark, Community Protection Manager responsible for Trading Standards at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:

“Officers from the Trading Standards team carry out regular inspections of local car boot sales and markets and also investigate online sales. They work with all kinds of businesses helping to promote good practice, raise standards and keep abreast of the latest legislation. Inspections last year unearthed fake goods with a street value of about £1,200 – the stall owners were given advice on the offences of selling counterfeit goods and the items were surrendered to the officers. It’s the cooperation of other businesses and traders that make the job we do that much easier, so do contact us to find out how we can help.”

For more details on the national scheme, visit www.realdealmarkets.co.uk.

Growth for Grimsby safety kit company

Posted August 20, 2014

The latest Regional Growth Fund (RGF) grant for a North East Lincolnshire company has been awarded to ICF Grimsby, a family run company that has been producing reflective newsbags and safety products for more than three decades.

The company plans to expand the business to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the renewables sector, specifically in the provision of offshore kit and shuttle bags and bespoke industrial covers for plant and machinery. Other items will include high visibility (PPE) clothing as well as bags and covers for both the leisure and fire safety markets.

New industrial machinery will be purchased to help increase efficiency, develop and manufacture new products to expand their market potential.

The company expects to be able to take on another two full time posts and one part time within three years and also introduce an apprenticeship programme.

Andrew Waterhouse, Managing Director of the company said,

“Thanks to the help received from e-factor, we’ve been able to develop a growth strategy for the business and take the next step. Without this funding, we’d have had to put our plans on hold and we would not have been able to take advantage of the growing opportunities for business in our town.”

Grant funding has been made available for the project from the ‘Growing the Humber Programme’, run by North East Lincolnshire Council on behalf of the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Humberside Police Funding agreed for more Buddi Trackers to deter prolific offenders

Posted August 20, 2014

Humberside Police are set to invest in more Buddi tracker devices to tackle re-offending by most prolific offenders or high risk MAPPA (Multi Agency Public Protection Agreement) offenders after the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove agreed funding to increase their roll out.

The Buddi Tracker is a personal tracking device system which works in a similar way to in-car Sat Nav systems and in trials by Humberside Police and other forces in the UK have been credited with cutting the numbers of crimes committed by known burglars, robbers and shoplifters.

The devices are locked in place round the ankles of high risk MAPPA offenders or prolific offenders, as part of their overall offender management plan. This allows detectives working within Integrated Offender Management Units to immediately check the whereabouts of the offender and also identify where they have been to rule them in or out of the offence.

Humberside Police and the Probation Trust commenced a pilot in December 2012 with six Buddi Trackers being fitted to offenders on a voluntary basis which has enabled the force to pinpoint the location of offenders at all times.

The trackers have proven a success over the past 20 months with over 100 offenders agreeing to be tagged as tag numbers increased to 20 tags across the force. 

During the trial most wearers admitted they do not offend whilst wearing the tag as they know there is a strong likelihood that they will be arrested and see the tag as a strong deterrent.

Some sex offenders, who had frequented areas where young children gather, realised they would be questioned about their reasons for being in certain locations. They instead stayed at home or went elsewhere, thus reducing their likelihood of reoffending and safeguarding vulnerable members of our community.

Due to the success of the trial, from September 30 trackers will be made available to the force, with plans to increase to 40 devices by December 2014 after funding was agreed by the Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove.

Detective Chief Inspector Darren Webb who manages the Buddi Tagging Scheme said:

“The offenders who have voluntarily engaged in being fitted with the trackers have on the most part found it has helped remove the temptation to reoffend. While those who have gone on to offend have been identified and quickly brought to justice. 

“The force is committed to using technology like the Buddi Trackers. They have been a cost efficient and effective tool in the management of some of the force’s by most prolific offenders or high risk MAPPA offenders. By making more trackers available we will be able to offer it to more eligible offenders which can only be viewed as a positive step in protecting communities and dealing with offenders. 

“For those offenders who are making positive progress we will also be able to leave the tags on for longer, therefore further help them break out of the reoffending cycle and increase the long term benefits for them and the communities they previously affected”

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Grove said:

“The funding I am providing to expand the use of tagging will I am sure have a significant impact on offending rates, and better protect the public. There are two areas in which increased tagging will do this; firstly the vast proportion of crime is committed by a small number of offenders. In the main we know who they are and where they live, and often they are in and out of the criminal justice system. GPS tagging enables the police to exactly pinpoint their location at any given time.

“The second area is monitoring registered sex offenders and ensuring they are obeying the conditions of their license. In both cases this is a strong deterrent to those who are tagged not to commit further offences and will free up officers to concentrate their time preventing and detecting crimes elsewhere.

“Whilst at this time wearing the tag is voluntary, it enables officers and probation staff to identify those who do not wish to cooperate at being of high risk of reoffending and to keep them under closer supervision. This is the start of an increasing trend of employing modern technology to closely monitor and manage offenders who pose the greatest risk to public and persuade them to change their ways and cease offending.”

Despite the deterrent effect of the trackers some wearers either forget they were wearing the tag, think the tag won’t be checked, or take drugs and become oblivious as to whether they are wearing a tag at all and have therefore the devices have been instrumental in obtaining convictions or prison recalls.

For example, a prolific offender with numerous previous convictions for theft related offences including dwelling burglary agreed to wear the tag. He appeared to be engaging and keeping to his license conditions. However, when a burglary occurred which had similarities to his previous modus operandi, a check of the Buddi system revealed he had been at the location of the burglary at the time of the offence. He was immediately arrested and fully admitted the offence. He was subsequently given a custodial sentence.

While a registered sex offender was fitted with a Buddi tag and had strict license conditions which prevented him from going to certain public places, including a local park. Regular checks of the system revealed that he had been in the park on two occasions. He was immediately arrested and recalled to prison for the remainder of his sentence.

Scandinavian services would require Scandinavian taxes warns Alistair Carmichael

Posted August 20, 2014

Scottish Secretary calls for clarity on how much extra tax Scots would be required to pay to adopt Scandinavian style services.

Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has challenged those who claim that an independent Scotland would adopt the Scandinavian social model to acknowledge that it is not possible to build “castles in the sky” and instead say how much extra tax Scots would be required to pay for it.

Speaking before an SCDI-organised debate on independence with the Scottish Government Finance Minister John Swinney on Wednesday, Mr Carmichael highlighted the significantly higher percentage of income paid in tax by citizens of Norway, Sweden and Denmark, what this would mean in cash terms for Scots, and the impact it would have on individual disposable income.

Find out more information about the Scottish independence referendum

Given the “UK dividend” by which Scots are set to benefit from remaining in the UK by an extra £1,400 a year, the tax hike required to hit Scandinavian levels of spending would be particularly large.

Mr Carmichael stressed that while there were many admirable things about the Scandinavian countries, those who argue that they are an example for Scotland must also come clean about the difficult choices required to copy them.

Mr Carmichael said:

“Just four weeks out from polling day, the case for leaving the UK remains a bizarre amalgam of assertion and omission. On currency, they assert that they will have a euro-style currency union – the only option that is off the menu – and omit to tell people their Plan B.

“Despite the growing clamour of experts and public opinion alike who want a clear answer to this most basic of questions, they refuse to come clean.

“But this approach is not confined to the currency: it has marked their entire campaign. Nowhere is this more true than of their much-publicised admiration of the Scandinavian social model.

“There is of course a great deal that is positive about Scandinavia. It is perfectly legitimate to admire strong social services and high levels of equality.

“But it is not legitimate to assert that an independent Scotland could have the same while omitting the hard choices that would be required to get there.

“The higher levels of public spending found in Scandinavia require higher taxes to pay for them. Much higher.

“Especially in Scotland, where public spending is already higher than the UK average and the “UK dividend” from remaining in the UK family will be worth £1400 for every Scot.

“According to the Scottish Government’s own GERS figures, Scots pay 36.7% of their earnings in tax. But in Norway citizens pay 42.2%, in Sweden they pay 44.2%, and in Denmark they pay 48.1%.

“Over recent months, Denmark has been cited over and over as an example to follow. But this would involve each Scot paying £3,100 more tax a year.”

Country Tax as a % of GDP Tax increase per person in Scotland (£)
Scotland 36.7% n/a
Norway 42.2% 1,500
Sweden 44.2% 2,040
Denmark 48.1% 3,100

Mr Carmichael continued:

“We would go from paying under £10,000 a year each to paying over £13,000 instead. On top of this, we know from OECD figures that real disposable income in Denmark is also lower than it is in Scotland.

“With higher taxes on income and VAT at 25%, that’s hardly a surprise.

“Is that what independence would mean for Scotland? Much higher taxes, alongside lower spending power? I think we should be told.

“Not least because the advocates of independence are implying the opposite. Those who want Scotland to leave the UK family talk only about taxes they claim they’d cut.

“But independent experts agree that over the coming years Scotland will face an ageing population, dwindling oil and gas revenues and a larger deficit than the rest of the UK.

“The impartial Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that Scotland would face almost £6 billion in tax rises and spending cuts if we were to leave the UK family.

“It is not possible to spend significantly more money while raising significantly less revenue. It is not possible to build castles in the sky.

“Scandinavian-style public services would come at an enormous cost – and that must be acknowledged.”

Is your town leading the way on older workers?

Posted August 20, 2014

New figures reveal Watford, north Dorset and the Shetland Islands are leading the way against outdated stereotypes of older workers.

New figures reveal areas as diverse as Watford, north Dorset and the Shetland Islands to be leading the charge against outdated stereotypes of older workers and flying the flag for fuller working lives.

They are among local authority districts across Great Britain with the highest rates of employment amongst older workers, according to new information collated by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Watford – home to the headquarters of several major companies – boasts the highest estimated employment rate amongst 50 to 64s.

Latest figures for April 2013 and March 2014 show Watford recorded 89.5% of this age group in work. The Shetlands followed closely on 88.3% and north Dorset on 87.2%.

Other high-performing areas include Stroud in Gloucestershire (85.3%), south Northamptonshire (84.6%), Horsham in Sussex (84.2%), and Tandridge in Surrey (84.2%). The remainder of the top ten is made up by east Northamptonshire (84.1%), Broxbourne in Hertfordshire (83.2%) and Stevenage in Hertfordshire (83.0%).

DWP Minister Steve Webb said:

“The business case for ignoring outdated and inaccurate stereotypes and giving older workers a chance to thrive is absolutely compelling, and these figures show that in some parts of the country that message is being received loud and clear. What we must do now is extend the positive record we’re seeing in counties like Hertfordshire across the whole of the UK.

“If we want to ensure people have comfortable retirements, that business thrives and that our economy continues to recover, then equality of employment opportunity for older workers isn’t just a ‘nice to have’, it is essential.

“Another crucial point is that a person dropping out of the workforce early can have a devastating effect on their retirement income. We owe it to people to do everything possible to ensure they can benefit from a full working life.”

Dr Ros Altmann, the government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, said:

“Older workers have a huge amount to offer any workforce. They generally have unrivalled life and work experience, often boast a broad range of skills and, according to many employers I’ve spoken to, tend to display great attitude and work ethic.

“Of course, there can be unique challenges faced by older workers – particularly in manual or strenuous jobs – but there is no reason why a person in their 50s or 60s cannot re-train to take on a different role with their existing employer, cut down their working hours, or even opt for a complete career change.

“We need to get rid of the traditional stereotype which suggests that people over 50 are too old to learn or change and are expected not to work, even if they want to. There can be a world of opportunities for older workers which can enrich their lives and also boost our economy.”

As well as highlighting the areas with the best records, the figures also show those places with the furthest to go to develop a labour market which makes full use of the skills and experience of their older working age population.

Areas in which around half of older workers are out of work include Hyndburn in Lancashire (48.1%), Rossendale in Lancashire (48.2%), west Somerset (49.2%), Tower Hamlets in London (50.6%) and Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria (51.7%).

The prevalence of particular industries can make the challenge of providing equal opportunities for older workers more difficult in some areas of the country than others.

In types of work where this is the case, the government is keen to encourage employers to consider the benefits of retraining or altering the role of older employees, in order to keep their skills and experience on board.

Earlier this year, the government launched Fuller Working Lives, a piece of research and analysis highlighting the vast benefits that could be reaped by individuals, industry and the overall economy by tackling unemployment and economic inactivity amongst the over-50s. It also set out some of the specific factors which can often lead to older workers being forced out – or kept out – of employment early, before they reach State Pension age.

This followed landmark changes previously brought in by the coalition government to abolish the default retirement age – which previously forced many people to give up work before they felt ready – and extend the right to request flexible working to all employees.

The DWP is also promoting retraining opportunities available to older jobseekers through the Jobcentre Plus network.

There are around 650,000 vacancies waiting to be filled in the UK economy at any one time, with continuing economic growth creating new ones every day.

More information

Read Fuller Working Lives – A Framework For Action.

See infographics setting out the key elements of the DWP’s Fuller Working Lives agenda.

Read a biography of Dr Ros Altmann and of Steve Webb MP

There are around 2.9 million people aged between 50 and State Pension age out of work. Over half of men and women have already stopped working before they reach State Pension age.

With life expectancy continuing to rise and time in retirement getting longer, helping the over-50s to stay in and get back into work has a key role to play in enhancing people’s standard of living in retirement.

By working one year longer, an average earner could boost their pension pot by around £4,500, in addition to earning an extra year’s salary. Conversely, an average earner retiring 10 years early could see their pension pot shrink by a third.

Research conducted by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research has also demonstrated the scale of potential benefit to the overall economy, finding that if everyone worked one year longer, the UK’s GDP could increase by 1% (equivalent to £16 billion in 2013).

Around 40.8% of over-50s on Jobseeker’s Allowance have been claiming for 12 months or more, which is substantially higher than the overall rate (30.2%).

Demographic changes present major opportunities for employers to harness the benefits of recruiting older staff, but also pose a serious threat to businesses which continue to believe they can rely solely on a young workforce. In the next 10 years, there will be 700,000 fewer people aged 16 to 49 in the UK labour market but 3.7 million more aged between 50 and State Pension age.

The Jobcentre Plus network works with various partners in local areas to support older jobseekers. Examples of local approaches currently being developed across the UK include:

  • running focus groups of older people to ascertain their needs to develop future provision
  • introducing local workshops/group information sessions for specific 50+ needs covering CVs/job applications, interviews, further support and moving into employment or self employment
  • using the Support Contract and Flexible Support Fund to provide provision targeted at older claimants
  • providing dedicated advisers for people aged over 50
  • work clubs specifically for people aged over 50
  • self employment support
  • IT provision aimed specifically at older people
  • specialist training courses for advisers to help them better understand the needs of older people

Local authority comparison: Employment rate for the 50 to 64 age group (older workers)

PDF, 230KB, 8 pages

 
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