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Over 50s could contribute 40% of UK plc earnings by 2040

But report warns poor health is a major barrier to working in later life

The earned income generated by people aged over 50 could account for 40% of total UK plc earnings by 2040, an analysis suggests.

This is up from 23% in 2004 and 30% in 2018, according to the report by the International Longevity Centre (ILC).

The report also estimates that by 2028 more people aged 60 and over may work part-time than any other age group, except for people aged under 30.

However, previous ILC research has warned that one million of the 11.5 million people in the UK aged 50 to 64 are currently economically inactive, largely because of health and care needs or caring responsibilities.

In 2017 alone, in better off countries 27.1 million years were lived with disability due to largely preventable disease, and this number is projected to increase by 17% within the next 25 years. 

Prof David Bloom, Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said the prospect of a longevity dividend is attractive but will not come to pass without an integrated set of policy, technological and behavioural adaptions.

“Prominent among these will be increased attention to strategies aimed at preventing the onset or progression of disease,” he stated.

Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, ILC chief executive, said for too many, poor health continues to be a barrier to working, spending and participating in society in later life.

“If we are to realise the benefits that longer lives can bring, governments and health systems need an ambitious agenda to support people to keep active, productive and engaged for longer,” she added. “Without proper governmental support and action, longevity could impose a huge economic burden. We have the agency to transform this challenge into an opportunity.”