Millions of people who depend on the state’s basic pension to get by face elderly poverty – despite an expected increase in payments of £ 6 per week to be revealed this month
Millions of people who depend on the state’s basic pension to survive face poverty in old age – despite the expected increase in payments of £ 6 per week which will be revealed later this month.
The government recently removed the “triple lock-in” guarantee that ensured that state pension recipients received annual increases of at least 2.5 percent or the greater of inflation or growth. wages. The salary link has been removed.
Yet those already struggling to survive on the basic state pension of £ 179.60 per week – or less – stress that the soaring cost of living will swallow up more than the expected increase of £ 6 per week.
Concern: Millions of people who depend on basic state pension to survive face poverty in old age
Sylvia Deacon, of Rainham, Kent, was among hundreds of retirees who contacted The Mail on Sunday after we participated in an experiment to try to survive on the state’s basic pension for a week.
The 84-year-old said: “Sadly, my husband John passed away from pneumonia earlier this year. Along with the devastation of his loss, the harsh reality of trying to survive on a widow’s pension is intimidating. .
She adds, “You get less money, but the house still costs the same to heat – and other bills have to be paid as well. This year, with soaring prices, it will be more difficult than ever. An increase in the state pension of £ 6 per week is simply not enough.
Sylvia gets by on £ 240 a week, thanks to income from a small personal pension in addition to her state pension. She points out that unexpected bills can easily push people like her into poverty. She recently spent £ 1,000 on a new bed – as she couldn’t stand sleeping in the same double bed she once shared with John.
James Robert-Poulain believes it is shameful that people are expected to survive on state pensions – and that women in particular are often left behind because they do not have paid enough national insurance contributions due to the upbringing of a family.
The 73-year-old, from Bexhill, East Sussex – who is married to former 1960s model Kitty Gordon, 83 – said: ‘The government is fighting back over how it wants to move into the world. higher level.
“But just look at how members of the House of Lords are paid twice the state’s weekly basic pension per day – and many also enjoy the comforts of a rock-solid public sector pension. It shows how disconnected politicians are from real retirees.
Action groups also fear that the planned increase in the state pension will not be enough to cover the cost of rising bills. Dennis Reed, director of the Silver Voices campaign organization, said: “A real cost-of-living crisis is looming for those who have reached retirement age.
“The state’s basic pension could increase by just over 3% next year, but it won’t keep up with the cost of living.
“Unfortunately, two of the biggest expenses for retirees are energy and food. Unfortunately, these suffer from much higher price increases – with price increases of perhaps 10 percent or more over the next year. ‘
He adds: “If the government had not abandoned the triple lockdown, we would have expected a pension increase of more than 8%.
“It would at least have helped retirees who are on the poverty line. Now there is a real danger that many of them will fall into poverty. ‘
PENSIONERS COULD BE WORSE OF £ 150 A YEAR
The new basic public pension of £ 179.60 per week is set to rise 3.3% from April – in line with the expected increase in the Consumer Price Index for September which is due to be released later this month -this. It will also apply to people born before April 1945 who receive a weekly allowance of £ 137.60 which is then topped up to £ 177.10 by claiming a pension credit.
Despite a planned increase of £ 308 per year in the state pension, this will be more than swallowed up by the soaring cost of living – which can amount to more than £ 458 per year. In real terms, retirees could find themselves in a worse situation by £ 150 a year.
Energy costs are expected to rise 12% from this month, adding £ 139 to the average annual gas and electricity bill. The council tax can go up by 5 percent – a typical hike of £ 60 per year – and groceries could increase by more than £ 100 per year per person.
Adding insult to injury, the BBC is also demanding that those over 75 pay £ 159 a year for their previously free TV license.