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New research to reduce pensioner poverty

Published on 12 July 2011 03:00 PM

New research shows how to reduce pensioner poverty.

New research from Age UK and the Pensions Policy Institute maps out the fastest way to reduce pensioner poverty by projecting the effect different  government policies will have on older people.

One in six pensioners (1.8 million) still live in poverty and although numbers have been falling over the last three decades in the UK, figures show that since 2005 levels have remained steady. The PPI research shows that if the current policies remain in place including the 'triple lock' guarantee then the percentage of pensioners living in poverty will fall to 14% in 2017 and 11% by 2025. 

Government proposals for a single tier state pension for future pensioners would cut pensioner poverty rate to 10% by 2025. However other policies changes would be effective in reducing poverty rates much further - if the flat rate pension was introduced for all pensioners then the PPI predicts that the percentage living in poverty will fall to 9% in 2017 and 7% by 2025. Full take-up of means-tested benefits would also have a major impact bringing poverty down to around 6% by 2025 but is very hard to achieve.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director of Age UK said:

'Despite being a wealthy country, an unacceptable number of people face a life of poverty. The triple lock is a great step forward for older people, but this research shows that the Government could reduce levels of pensioner poverty much faster through other changes such as introducing the flat rate pensions for all.

'The current pension system is bewildering in its complexity and many older people do not claim the means tested benefits they are entitled to. We welcome Government proposals for a flat rate pension which is likely to reduce poverty over time and encourage saving for retirement by making it clear what you can expect to receive from the state. However it is essential that the Government also introduces reforms to help current pensioners.'

Notes to editors

  1. The triple lock was put in place by the Coalition Government in 2010 and means that the basic state pension rises in line with earnings, the Consumer Price Index or 2.5% whichever is higher.
  2. The poverty line is defined as living on less than 60% of median household income.
  3. The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) is an independent research organisation, with a charitable objective to inform the policy debate on pensions and retirement provision.  Its aim is to improve information and understanding about pensions and retirement income through research and analysis, discussion and publication.  It does not lobby for any particular policy, but works to make the pension policy debate better informed. Any technical questions on the research should be directed to Chris Curry on 020 7848 3731 or

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Age UK

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 is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over five 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. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. 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 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). 

Media contact: Fiona Callister
Telephone: 020 3033 31439
Out-of-office-hours: 0707124324

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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