A former pensions advisor to Tony Blair has been appointed as the Government's new 'Older Workers' Champion', amid growing concern over the number of over 50s left on the scrap heap.

Dr Ros Altmann will advise David Cameron on how to make it easier for older workers to stay in work or change careers late in life.

There are currently about 2.9 million people aged between 50 and state pension age out of work in the UK.

Dr Altmann, a former director-general of over-50s group Saga, will be tasked with making the case for older workers and challenging some firms' outdated perceptions, the Government announced.

She has been highlighting the need to consider retirement as a phased process rather than a one-off event, enabling people to perhaps spend a period working part-time towards the end of their working lives rather than giving up work altogether.

The former Saga chief said: 'Those who have already retired often miss work, not just because they have such reduced incomes, but also because they miss the social interaction and positive feelings that derive from work.

'Employers, too, often have ageist attitudes which mean they fail to make the most of the skills of their workforce.

'As the numbers of over 50s is soaring in coming years, it is so important that we ensure they have the opportunities to earn and save more, as well as continuing to contribute to the growth of the economy as a whole.'

The appointment of Business Champion for Older Workers was announced by pensions minister Steve Webb.

Mr Webb said: 'In appointing a business champion for older workers I wanted a powerful voice; someone respected amongst the business community, with a track record of speaking up for consumer rights without fear or favour.

'In Dr Ros Altmann that's exactly what we have.

Pensions minister Steve Webb said the appointment of Dr Altmann would help businesses access the 'vast, untapped talent' of older workers currently being overlooked

The pensions minister added: 'Older workers have a huge amount to bring to any workforce and are a vast, untapped talent in the UK labour market. The business case is compelling and I am delighted that Ros will now be taking a lead in going out and making that case directly to the business community.'

Minister for women Nicky Morgan said: 'I am delighted that Dr Ros Altmann has been appointed and with her breadth of experience, she will be a great advocate of this work.'

Article from mailonline.co.uk