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A new report from the ILC-UK think tank calls on G20 governments to invest more in removing barriers to working in older age as part of an Ageing Society New Deal to unleash a ‘longevity dividend’.
G20 governments should commit to an Ageing Society New Deal and invest more in preventative health, supporting older workers and reducing avoidable barriers to spending, according to a new report.
The report launched ahead of the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting by the International Longevity Centre UK think tank shows that, in 2014, workers aged 50 and over earned every third dollar in the G20 economy. It says that, by 2035, older workers are projected to generate nearly 40% of all earnings across the G20.
It also shows that, in 2015, spending by older households in the G20 averaged 22% of GDP, amounting to almost $10 trillion, more than the combined GDP of Japan, Australia, Canada and Brazil.
And it estimates that the average unpaid contributions of older people across the EU and Turkey could be worth as much as 1.4% of GDP.
The report argues that leveraging the economic contributions of older people will be instrumental in the global post-pandemic recovery, and that addressing health barriers to spending, working, caring and volunteering for longer can unlock a significant ‘longevity dividend’.
The analysis finds that countries that spend more on health as a proportion of GDP see higher employment participation, higher informal contributions like caring and volunteering and higher spending by older people.
Moreover, it says increasing preventative health spending by just 0.1% is associated with a 9% increase in annual spending by people aged 60 and over.
The ILC-UK predicts that if G20 countries enabled older people to work at the same rates as seen in Iceland, they could see an average GDP gain of around 7% – or $3.7 trillion.
David Sinclair, Director of the ILC-UK, said: “We’ve become accustomed to our ageing population being presented as a bad thing. Dangerous rhetoric suggesting older people are disposable has become far too common – particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We can’t ignore the challenges for the public purse and the wider economy – but realising the opportunities of ageing can help address these. Older people’s social and economic impact is already significant, but there’s potential to increase this further. The barriers they face are in part avoidable – and the most important is poor health.”
“It’s time to start treating older people not as the problem, but as part of the solution. Coming out of this global recession will rely on us better engaging workers, consumers, volunteers and carers of all ages.”