Age UK's response to the Chancellor's Budget 2014
Published on 19 March 2014 04:00 PM
Welcome help for savers but no gains for the poorest pensioners
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK Charity Director, comments:
'Our rigid pensions system has become increasingly out of step with the reality of contemporary working lives so we hope that the more flexible approach announced today will revitalise pension saving, giving younger age groups more hope of future security in retirement.
'We particularly applaud the immediate changes announced today that will allow the millions with several small pension pots to draw their money in cash - it's a move Age UK has been campaigning for over many years.
'We are also very pleased that guidelines are to be introduced to offer pensioners and those approaching pension age impartial face to face financial advice. Giving people a real choice about how and when to use their pension savings is the right approach, but it must be an informed choice so the advice available to them when they make this crucial decision needs to be first rate. Making this a reality will be central to the success of the reforms and we look forward to working with the Government and the financial services industry to make sure this happens.
'Radical as these changes are, it's important to recognise that they are not a panacea. If you are one of the 1.6 million pensioners living in poverty in the UK, this budget will have done nothing to help you cope with rising living costs. Nor will it do anything to reduce the crisis in social care that has seen the number of older people receiving support falling by more than a quarter since 2005.
'Furthermore, we know that people regularly underestimate how long they will live and people retiring now often have immediate calls on their savings such as interest-only mortgages and debts to pay off. Work needs to start now to ensure these people will have assets to support them in very old age, that free financial advice is of a consistently high standard, and that the industry develops some good value financial options so people get the certainty they need for security in later life.'
Media Contact: Mallary Gelb/Anne-Marie Doohan/Liz Fairweather/
Telephone: 020 303 31430
Out of hours: 07071 243 243
Notes to editors
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
Age UK: We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK believes that everyone should have the opportunity to make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).