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This edition of Age UK’s Chief Economist's report focuses on these key economic aspects in the lives of many older people in the UK: inequality and poverty, and benefit take-up. We also include comment on the current picture of long-term unemployment, redundancies and re-employment amongst the older population.

Most commentators opined that the 2015 Budget left older people untouched. In view of the unacceptable levels of material deprivation and the alarming number of pensioners in low income not taking up benefits they are entitled to, ‘no news’ in this case seems to be ‘bad news’.

Key insights in this issue


  • The Budget did little to help to close the gap between the richest and the poorest pensioners
  • The Budget allows more affluent older people to be able to leave more of their estate free of Inheritance Tax
  • Financial inequality is currently growing in the pensioner population: the gap between the richest and the poorest is getting wider
  • Pensioners are still missing out of £3.7 billion of means-tested benefits to which they are entitled

Material deprivation

  • Over a million pensioners in this country cannot afford to replace a cooker if it breaks down
  • Over 4m cannot afford a holiday
  • About a million cannot afford to go to the hairdressers or barbers
  • Employment
  • About 1.2 million people aged 65+ are in employment
  • Workers aged 50+ are the most likely to be made redundant and the least likely to get a new job within three months


  • Pensioners benefitted more than the average household from low food prices, but remain the most vulnerable to energy price rises

Age UK's Chief Economist's report (PDF 900 KB) 

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Further information

For more information: Call Age UK on 0800 169 8787