In comparison, there’s been an increase of nearly 288,000 claims among the under 25s in the same period.
Stuart Lewis, Founder of Rest Less, said: “The government is right to commit resources to support youth employment in its ‘kickstart’ scheme but the current policy will significantly distort the labour market, reduce permanent job creation and make it much harder for other under-represented groups like the over 50s to find work.
“Pre-pandemic, workers aged over 50 were more likely to be made redundant, to be in long term unemployment, to have less access to workplace training and to face heightened age discrimination in the recruitment process post-pandemic.
“Following today’s announcement, with more over 50s claiming Universal Credit than those under 24, and redundancies surging, why would any company create a permanent role and hire a 61 year old who has just been made redundant, when they could hire a 23 year old for free on a temporary six month basis?
“With 660,000 over 50s claiming Universal Credit in May (up from 304,000 in March) and the state pension age increasing to 66 this year – given the known challenges facing the over 50s in the recruitment process, we expect hundreds of thousands of over 50s to be forced into an early retirement they cannot afford, living off Universal Credit until they reach the state pension age – which could be as long as 10-15 years.