Shocking figures have been released today showing that in the last two years, almost a million (960,000) older people across the UK have had to cut back on food shopping to cover the cost of utility bills.
The research shows:
• More than 1.6 million shop for food in the reduced section or wait for food to be discounted at the end of the day
• 1.4m older people grow their own vegetables to save money
• More than 155,000 older people skip meals to save money
Many pensioners live on low, fixed incomes and have been hit hard by the rising cost of food and energy over recent years.
Age Cymru's ‘Life on a low income – the reality of poverty for older people in Wales’ report launched in May 2014 showed that 84,000 older people in Wales currently live in poverty – 14% of everyone aged 65 or over.
This means older people living on a weekly household income of £220 or less after their housing costs are deducted.
Victoria Lloyd, Director of Influencing and Programme Development says:
“This research undertaken by our sister chairty Age UK shows a shocking increase in older people living on tight budgets due to the increase in utility costs.
“No-one should be faced with a calamitous reduction in their standard of living when they retire or be resigned to a life where they are forced to choose between basic essentials in order to make ends meet.
“Yet unfortunately, many older people in Wales have to make these stark compromises and tough choices every day.
“This situation is preventable. In 2012/2013, Age Cymru and its network of local partners helped older people across Wales to claim £13 million in extra benefits.”
For information about your nearest Age Cymru charity partner and for free, confidential and expert advice on a range of issues for over 50s in Wales, ring Age Cymru’s advice line on 08000 223 444.
Our individual giving campaign is calling on Welsh residents to donate money to Age Cymru to help older people across Wales who are living on the breadline.
To find out more about this campaign please visit Life on a low income.