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Age UK responds to new Government HBAI pensioner poverty figures

By: Age UK
Published on 25 March 2021 10:00 AM

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “New statistics out today show that pensioner poverty levels are on the rise, with 18%[1]- equivalent to 2.1 million pensioners living in poverty after housing costs.  This worrying increase represents 200,000 more pensioners in poverty than the previous year[2] and there hasn’t been a larger number of pensioners living in poverty for more than 15 years.[3]

“Today’s figures also show that 8% of pensioners wouldn’t be able to pay an unexpected bill, equivalent to more than 900,000 older people.  This paints a stark picture of the grim reality of retirement for millions of pensioners in the UK. 

“The fact is that far too many pensioners are living in a precarious financial situation, with insufficient income to cover even their basic costs. Many of these older people are likely to be in poor health and feeling extremely vulnerable as the country has been in lockdowns for the past year.  They are likely to be just about managing by budgeting carefully and the smallest increase in expenditure, such as an unexpectedly high utility bill, can quickly tip the scales.

“The threat of pensioner poverty remains very much in place, and when life returns to some semblance of normality, the Government needs to do more to ensure older people get the benefits they’re entitled to.  This Government should be paying more attention to those among us who are quietly, uncomplainingly struggling on, facing a daily battle to afford the very basics that most of us take for granted. Action is urgently needed to prevent yet more pensioners slipping not just below the poverty line but completely off the radar.”

[1] In 2019/20 18%[1] - equivalent to 2.1 million pensioners were living in poverty (below 60% of median household income after housing costs)

[2] In 2018/19 - 16% of pensioners were living in poverty.

[3] Since 2003/04

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Last updated: Mar 25 2021

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