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Author: Age UK
Published on 01 September 2017 12:01 AM

Age UK research has revealed that nearly 3 million – that's 1 in 4 - older people are in financial difficulty, showing that pensioner poverty is still a huge problem.

1.9 million below poverty line

Last year, the number of pensioners living below the poverty line rose to 1.9 million. Government figures have also shown that among over 65s:

  • Over a million would be unable to meet an unexpected expense of £200
  • Almost a million would be unable to replace a cooker if it broke down
  • Over 700,000 are unable to keep their homes damp free
  • More than half a million are unable to keep their homes adequately warm

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85+ and living alone most likely to be at risk

Research shows that the older you are, the more likely you are to be in financial difficulty. 19% of 80 to 84 year olds and 21% of those aged 85+ are in poverty – compared to only 13% of 65-69 year olds.

Couples were more likely to be financially secure, with 13% in poverty, compared to 20% of single pensioners. Lastly, renters are particularly at risk – especially those renting privately, of which 33% are in poverty.

No 'job done' with ending pensioner poverty

Although these figures might be surprising, they show that we shouldn't ignore the scale of pensioner poverty in the UK, as Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director of Age UK explained:

'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.'

This call to Age UK Advice, the Charity’s national advice line, shows just how tough it is to get by if you are a pensioner on a tight budget:

A woman contacted Age UK about her 80-year old relative who was sleeping in a downstairs room because it was too expensive to put the central heating on. The gas fire was then disconnected because there was a smell of gas. The relative was also in arrears and could not afford the cost of a new fire and the fitting.


Get help from Age UK

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081