More older people are to be given help to get back to work in a new campaign to boost Britain's economy and reduce the number of over-50s who are jobless and living on benefits.

The latest Government statistics for September 2023 show there are more than 1 million people aged 50 to 66 who are unemployed and claiming Universal Credit. The figure has steadily risen, month on month, from just over 905,000 in September 2022. In contrast, just under 410,000 people in this age group are working, a slight increase on the 392,000 who were in employment a year ago.

The Department for Work and Pensions has now announced it has boosted its network of 50PLUS Champions - a taskforce of staff who focus on helping people in this age group to find jobs - as part of National Older Workers Week from November 20 to 24.


The number of these 50PLUS Champions, who work directly with jobcentres and employers to remove barriers keeping older people out of the labour market, has been doubled from 37 to 77 across England, Wales and Scotland, the DWP announced.

Minister for Employment Jo Churchill said: "I know that work brings benefits to all ages, whether that's improved wellbeing, making important friendships, or earning more. As a Government, we are working hard to get more people into work and tackle inactivity.

"Doubling the number of our 50PLUS Champions means even more jobseekers can access tailored support. On this National Older Workers Week, I urge all businesses to step up and put age diversity at the heart of what they do."

The news follows a recent visit made by Jo Churchill to B&Q's New Malden branch. The company prides itself on having a multi-generational workforce with 35 per cent of staff aged over 50.

Andy Moat, B&Q's HR Director said: "We were delighted to recently welcome the new Minister for Employment to B&Q New Malden for her to hear firsthand from some of our older workers the benefits of working. B&Q is a very multi-generational workforce, and we believe in creating an environment where people can grow, thrive, and truly be themselves.

"We do this in many ways, including through our apprenticeship programme, and we have apprentices aged from 17 to 70 years studying to gain new knowledge and skills to help develop their careers, whilst continuing to earn the same rate of pay as others doing their role."

During the visit, the minister saw how the business is supporting the over-50s into work and met older apprentices who showed how re-training can help people in this age group to find employment in later life.

The Government says it is investing £6 billion to tackle economic inactivity to get more people into work, including older people. This includes £2.5 billion announced this week as part of a Back to Work Plan for people with chronic health conditions and disabilities or in long-term unemployment.

To mark National Older Workers Week, the DWP is organising numerous events across Britain, including jobs fairs in Oldham, Edinburgh, Bath and Newport - all specifically targeted at those who are over 50.

Overall, of the 6.1 million people now on Universal Credit across the UK, there are 2.3 million (38 per cent) in work and 3.8 million who are unemployed. The majority of those who are out of work are in the 25 to 49 age group.