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Friday, 01 September 2017

No end to 'pensioner poverty' as one in four older people struggling financially, report

Written by Alan Jones

Almost one in four people over the age of 65 are struggling financially, showing there is no end to "pensioner poverty", a new report claims.

Age UK said despite so many older people having money problems, around £3.5 billion in financial help was going unclaimed every year in benefits, including help with council tax.

A survey of more than 1,300 people over the age of 65 for the charity found that one in four found life a struggle financially.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: "Today we are at risk as a society of blithely assuming that every older person is comfortably off, but these new figures show that to be way off the mark.

"In fact the most recent Age UK research suggests that one in four are finding it a struggle to manage, adding up to approaching three million pensioners in all.

"With so many older people worried about being hard up it is certainly not 'job done' when it comes to ending pensioner poverty.

"Trying to make ends meet on a low income is a big challenge at any age, but if you are an older person living on your own who is praying your ageing television somehow keeps going, because you know there is no way you'll ever be able to afford to replace it, life becomes especially grim."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "By introducing the triple lock and protecting the poorest through Pension Credit, we have reduced pensioner poverty close to historically low levels, lifting the incomes of millions of older people.

"Other support, such as winter fuel payments, should give older people the assurance that they can turn up their heating when they need to, without the fear of an unaffordable bill."

Margaret Greenwood, shadow minister for employment and inequalities, said: "This report highlights the destructive consequences of the Conservative's brutal and unnecessary austerity programme. Living in poverty is now an everyday reality for many older people in the UK.

"While the Tories said they would scrap the triple-lock on state pensions during the General Election, Labour will guarantee the 'triple lock', as well as maintain the Winter Fuel Allowance and free bus passes as universal benefits to help tackle pensioner poverty."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Joe Giddens / PA Wire.