Older people tend to be more “punctual” and “able to spell” compared with their younger counterparts, a Conservative MP said.
Michael Fabricant listed the qualities of adults aged 50 and over as he urged the Government to do more to support them back into employment.
Speaking in the Commons during Work and Pensions questions, the Lichfield MP joked he did not have to declare an interest, because of his “youth”.
Amid laughter from MPs, he added: “But does my right honourable friend agree with me that older people on the whole tend to be more punctual, tend to be more dedicated, tend to be more reliable, tend to be able to spell.
“What is my right honourable friend doing to tell employers that these are the very factors that needs to employ them?”
Work and pensions minister Guy Opperman replied: “Well of course, my honourable friend, who is under the age of 50, I’m sure does not need to declare an interest in the desire of this Government to ensure that we have more over 50s in employment.”
He noted there are four job fairs open to “50+ customers” from Lichfield.
Shortly afterwards, Barry Sheerman, who is the longest continuously serving MP and the oldest Labour MP in the current Parliament, drew laughs in the lower chamber, after saying: “Can I add my voice to this call for using talented people who are over 50 as I’m approaching that stage myself…”
The Huddersfield MP added: “Now I have to say that some of the very best years of my life at work were after 50 in terms of the number of jobs that have been able to do, the new schemes, social enterprise.
“I know many people just waiting for that second chance to contribute to our economy and to social enterprise if he gives them the right incentive.”
Mr Opperman replied: “I agree with him. There is life in the old dog yet, as they say.
“And more particularly, it is very important that we continue to make the case that employment for over 50s is something that should be supported by all employers.”
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