Published On: Wed, Mar 13th, 2024

Pensioners forced to skip meals as state pension falls £50 short of basic weekly needs | Personal Finance | Finance

Pensioners are making drastic cuts to their standard of living as the state pension falls short of the weekly needs of older Britons.

Research from the Centre for Ageing Better found single pensioners need another £50 each week on top of their state pension while couples need another £80 to get by.

The research found two in five people aged 70 and over are eating less than they should while more than six in 10 are reducing how much showers and baths they have.

Dr Carole Easton, chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “We currently have the worst state pension offering among OECD countries while one million of the poorest pensioners have no private or workplace pension.

“Clearly we have an awfully long way still to go. The cost of living crisis has clearly been a very difficult time for many of our nation’s pensioners who are being forced to cut back on even the basic essentials of life.

“But it is also impacting the ability of workers to save and to contribute to a pension, creating the substantial risk of even greater pensioner poverty in the near future.”

Almost three quarters of respondents are reducing their use of the cooker or oven while over half have cut back on their time with family and friends.

Dr Easton called out the “concerning” lack of support for pensioners in the Spring Budget, with the group warning pensioners will see their taxes go up by almost £1,000 a year because of the freezing of income tax thresholds.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a 2p cut in National Insurance, helping working Britons, while he left income tax rates untouched, meaning pensioners will not benefit from the tax break.

Dr Easton said: “We desperately needed a Budget that offered a helping hand to the very poorest pensioners, not pushing them deeper into financial trouble.”

The full new state pension is currently £203.85 a week and is increasing to £221.20 a week from next month, or £11,502 a year, which is very close to the £12,570 threshold for paying income tax.

Several bills are also increasing next month, including water bills, council tax and broadband and mobile bills.

Some experts criticised Jeremy Hunt for not taking action on the mid-contract broadband and mobile hikes, with many tariffs rising in line with inflation plus an additional amount.

Andy Aitken, co-founder and CEO of mobile provider Honest, : “These unfair price increases – like the one we’ve recently been informed of that will see millions across the UK face price hikes of up to 8.8 percent – are deeply unethical and take a serious toll on people’s finances.

“Given how timely this issue is, it’s shocking that this wasn’t addressed in last week’s budget.”

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