Government must support retiree entrepreneurs

Government must support retiree entrepreneurs overnment must support retiree entrepreneurs

I am not surprised to see the Association of British Insurers’ report suggesting that one in five employees expects to work past retirement age. Simply Business has seen this trend reflected in a significant upturn in the number of older entrepreneurs. Our figures show a 19 per cent increase in the number of businesses started by retirees - suggesting that the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit continues into older age.

Those who want to retire should be able to do so. It is not a properly functioning society that expects its citizens to work until they die, and proper provision must be made such that those who wish to enjoy a retirement are free to do so.

But for many people, retirement is no longer the preferred option. The welcome with which the scrapping of the Default Retirement Age was greeted is a signal of a new shift - one that has seen older people wishing to work longer, either for financial reasons or simply because they want to.

This government and the last were right to take steps to ensure that those who want to work past the age of 65 can do so. But part-time work in retirement, which 40 per cent of those who believe they will quit their full-time job predict they will still have to do, is not be an ideal solution for many. Instead, we need concrete steps to help those of retirement age start their own businesses. Our older population has a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can bring to bear on their own ventures, and for many, retirement is simply the opportunity they have needed to put them into practice.

The government has repeatedly claimed that it wants to help foster the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit, but schemes like Start-Up Loans, while welcome, have focused too narrowly on the young. Measures intended to help our older people start their own businesses would not only be good for those who want to follow this course of action - they would also help deliver a much-needed kick to the UK’s flagging economy. Self-employment in retirement makes sense for retirees, and it makes sense for the country.