The government has been urged to help older unemployed consumers back into work after new figures revealed a rise in long-term unemployment among the over-50s.A report from the Office for National Statistics revealed that the number of people aged between 50 and 64 who have been out of work for over a year reached 189,000 in the three months to December, a rise of 3.3 per cent compared to the last quarter.This contrasts sharply with the overall decrease in the overall long-term unemployment figure from 33 per cent to 32.3 per cent during the same period.Michelle Mitchell, charity director-general of Age UK, claimed that the new figures are a "clear signal" that the government needs to help older workers, especially after the recent rise in the state pension age.She said: "The evidence shows that unless older workers find jobs quickly, they will find it harder than any other age group to get back into work and will increasingly struggle to make ends meet in an already tough economic climate."Employers must be encouraged to recruit and retain older workers and to help unemployed older people find jobs."With jobs at a premium for older workers, many people will be looking at other potential streams of income, such as an equity release scheme which unlocks the value of a home.
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