Consumer issues

 
 
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People in later life are an important and growing group of consumers. Age UK is working to ensure that consumer policy takes this market into account.

This includes encouraging businesses and the financial services industry to design their products and services in an inclusive way, addressing the critical issue of affordable access to essential services such as fuel and water, and ensuring that older people have secure and useable payment methods, including cheques.

Recent publications and reports

opens link in new window Reducing fuel poverty, June 2014 (PDF 850 KB)

opens link in new window Payment systems regulation: call for inputs (April 2014) (PDF 225KB)

opens link in new window Speeding up cheque payments: legislating for cheque imaging (PDF 205KB)

opens link in new window Banking standards review: consultation paper (February 2014) (PDF 195KB)

opens link in new window Financial conduct authority cash savings market study response (Dec 2013) (PDF 161KB)

opens link in new window Problem debt among older people (June 2013) (PDF 456KB)

opens link in new window Consultation response: consumer codes approval scheme (Dec 2012) (PDF 200KB)

opens link in new window Consultation response: consumer vulnerability strategy (Nov 2012) (PDF 85KB)

opens link in new window Consultation response: fuel poverty - changing the framework for measurement (Nov 2012) (PDF 500KB)

opens link in new window Food shopping in later life. barriers and service solutions (PDF 1.3MB)

opens link in new window Agenda for Later Life Report 2012 - policy priorties for active ageing, Chapter 5 -Essential services (PDF 1602KB)

opens link in new window Updating the National Payments Plan (July 2011) (PDF 167KB)

opens link in new window The Way We Pay: Payment systems and financial inclusion (PDF 2MB)

opens link in new window Age UK response to OPG Consultation – Fees (PDF 155KB)

Financial services

Lack of access to financial services can cause practical difficulties, increase costs and prevent older people from participating fully in society.

Age UK works to ensure that the financial services industry, regulators and government co-operate to provide suitable, secure and fair value financial services that help people prepare for retirement and allow people who are already retired to manage their money.

Financial Services Commission

The Financial Services Commission report sets out our roadmap for industry, government and regulators to take to improve the financial resilience of our ageing society:

 

opens link in new window Financial resilience in later life (June 2014) (PDF 980 KB)

In this video, Tom Wright, Chief Executive of Age UK, explains why the commission was set up.

Accompanying the report are supporting pieces of research and provocations:

More financial services

Our report opens link in new window The Way We Pay: Payment systems and financial inclusion (PDF 2MB) looks at the issues for older people arising from the potential abolition of cheques.

See also:

opens link in new window Review of the Money Advice Service (September 2014) (PDF 322KB)

Age UK has submitted evidence to HM Treasury’s independent review of the Money Advice Service (MAS). Age UK remains convinced that a strong central body focussing on financial capability is needed, but argues that MAS should be a central commissioning body with delivery delegated to others where appropriate. 

opens link in new window Retirement Reforms and the Guidance Guarantee (September 2014) (PDF 328KB)

opens link in new window Money Advice Service proposal for a retirement adviser directory response (July 2014) (PDF 264 KB)

 opens link in new window Consultation response: Financial Services Authority: journey to the Financial Conduct Authority (Feb 2013)

opens link in new window Consultation response: Money Advice Service: business plan 2013/14 (Feb 2013)

Age-friendly consumer markets

People in later life are an important and growing group of consumers. This presents an enormous opportunity for those companies willing to address their needs. However, 46% of people aged over 65 agreed that business and retailers had little interest in meeting the needs of older consumers. Age UK will encourage businesses to innovate in response to the growing spending power and diversity of this group.

Our report opens link in new window The Golden Consumer (October 2010) (1MB) discusses how an ageing population could present new opportunities for business.

See also:

opens link in new window Consultation response: Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (Dec 2012) (200KB)

opens link in new window Consultation response: Consumer vulnerability strategy (Nov 2012) (85KB)

Utilities and essential services

Pensioners spend significantly more of their budget on food, water, household fuel and healthcare than non-pensioners. They have been hit hard by recent price rises for necessities such as fuel and water. It is estimated that in 2009 5.5 million households lived in fuel poverty in the UK of which half were pensioner households. Age UK will lobby government to ensure older people get a fair share of energy efficiency measures under the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation.

opens link in new window Consultation response: Consumer vulnerability strategy (Nov 2012) (85KB)

opens link in new window Consultation response: Fuel poverty - changing the framework for measurement (Nov 2012) (500KB)

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