By Daniel Hunter
Londoners over 50 contribute an impressive £53 billion to the economy a new report commissioned by the Mayor has revealed, dispelling stereotypes that older people are a burden on their families and the public purse.
There are currently just over two million people aged 50 and over in the capital, 25 per cent of all Londoners. 905,000 are aged 65 and over. The findings in the GLA Economics report — The Economic Contribution of Older Londoners - suggest that older people contribute just as much to society, or even more, than they receive.
In addition to a £47 billion contribution to the economy through paid work, they also provide £4.7 billion, as a result of caring for other adults and £600 million providing childcare for their grandchildren. Older Londoners contribute a further £800 million through volunteering activities.
In the biggest challenge to public perception, the report found that older Londoners' contributions do not drop off around retirement age — Londoners aged 65 and over add a value of £6.3 billion to the economy in these areas, equating to around £7,000 per person. London’s employment rate of those aged 65 and above is the second highest of all regions in the country, and more 65 to 74 year olds in London partake in regular formal volunteering than 25 to 34 year olds (around 25 and 15 per cent respectively).
Deputy Mayor of London Victoria Borwick will formally launch the new report at the Positive Ageing in London conference 'Supporting Older People's Contributions to London', later today.
The Deputy Mayor said: 'Older Londoners are not slowing down and enjoying leisurely retirements. This timely report shows they are at the coalface of our economy, contributing through paid as well as unpaid work. Nearly 42% of Team London Ambassadors who volunteered during the Olympic and Paralympic Games were aged over 50 and 12% were over 65. Proving that whatever our age, we all have a positive contribution to make London's success as a city."
Sam Mauger, Chief Executive of Age UK London, which is a member of Positive Ageing in London, said: 'We are delighted that older people's contribution to London is being recognised and that the figures released today show everyone that older people are essential to our city. There are older workers, carers, those providing childcare, and countless volunteers across London that should be celebrated and thanked for all they do.'
Gordon Meenn, 77, volunteered as a Team London Ambassador for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He said: 'I love to meet people and help in the community to broaden my outlook about what London is about. Volunteering makes me feel active and young and I would say to any older people considering it, give it a go, you won’t regret it!'
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