HC Deb 04 December 1962 vol 668 cc1117-8
9. Mr. Boyden

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what investigations are being undertaken under his auspices on how suitability for industrial employment is affected by age.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

The Medical Research Council has supported for some years studies of the psychological changes that occur with age, with particular reference to the suitability of older workers for various types of industrial work. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is also supporting a research project concerned with the training of older workers.

Mr. Boyden

Is sufficient publicity given to the fact that a good deal of nonsense is talked and thought about people being too old at 50? Do the investigations study the situations which arise in areas like mine, where a great many people, highly suitable for work, are faced with long periods of frustration because they are out of work at 50 or 55 through the closure of pits and so on?

Mr. Freeth

Yes, indeed. In 1961, the Council issued a memorandum entitled, "Ageing and the semi-skilled. A survey of manufacturing industry on Merseyside". Although limited to Merseyside, the memorandum's conclusions are of wide application. A major finding was that the slowing down of older workers was widely held by knowledgeable people in industry to be largely compensated for by their skill, experience and conscientiousness.