Category Archives: poverty

Pensioners hit hardest by £9BILLION welfare spending cuts

shock report reveals that a quarter of welfare cuts fall on pensioner households with pension credit, attendance allowance and diability living allowance for OAPs.
Savage spending cuts will soar to nearly £9billion a year, hitting pensioners hardest, a shock report reveals today.

The study shows PM David Cameron has broken his pre-election pledge to protect the elderly, with a quarter of welfare cuts falling on pensioner households.

The Tory-led Government’s biggest cut is a £3.8billion-a-year reduction in pension credit, which tops up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum.

Other cuts include a £138million-a-year reduction in the value of attendance allowances – paid to those who look after relatives – and £340million off disability living allowances for OAPs.

A large chunk of the losses comes from switching the inflation measure used to set benefits each year from the Retail Prices Index to the lower Consumer Prices Index.

The cuts faced by pension households – single people or couples where at least one person is of pension age and where no adults work – will be worse after the next election.

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Struggling pensioners tempted to beome ‘granlords’

Around one in five retirees are considering renting out a room in their homes as they struggle to get by on just their pension, research has found.

The latest figures suggest that around half of all Britons over the age of 65 now have a hard time living the life they want with just their pension to support them financially.

Given this, insurer More Than has reported a notable rise in ‘Granlords’, older people choosing to rent out at least one bedroom in their homes to generate some much-needed extra cash.

Such a tactic is far from surprising, especially given that the company’s study also found that the average pensioner now only has around £35 a week for themselves once living costs and other essentials are factored in.

However, while growing numbers of older Britons may be benefitting from a little extra income, few of them know the responsibilities that come with being a landlord, with many potentially leaving themselves vulnerable to prosecution for flouting rules and regulations.

“After years of working, being forced to become a landlord after retiring is far from an ideal situation but it’s clear that many people are considering this to provide additional financial support,” commented Matthew Poll from More Than.

“For those looking to bring in a lodger, it’s important that they make sure they choose the right person but it’s also vital that they have the right cover and I’d urge anyone considering this to contact their insurer.”
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Is inflation making you poorer?

The rate of Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation in the UK rose slightly to 3.1% in December, up from a rate of 3.0% the month before.

But your personal rate of inflation may not match the official rate of inflation. Use the BBC calculator to get a more accurate picture of how inflation affects you.

The calculator was developed with the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Information entered is safe, as it stays on your computer.

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Soaring fuel bills lead to fuel poverty warning to PM

Up to 9million families ‘will be in fuel poverty by 2016′ without action to insulate homes, campaigners warn PM

More than 100 energy firms, charities, unions and retailers demand tougher action to tackle ‘national disgrace’
6million families spend more than 10% of income on heating but could hit 9million by 2016 without action on energy efficiency
Government schemes ‘not enough’ to deal with soaring fuel bills
Big Freeze to last another four days causing chaos on the roads and trains
Soaring energy bills could force another 3million families into fuel poverty without urgent action from the government, David Cameron is warned today.

As temperatures plummet across Britain, an alliance of more than 100 energy firms, charities, unions and private business is urging the Prime Minister to order a massive programme to tackle the insulate homes across Britain.

Campaigners say 6million families already spend more than 10 per cent of their income on heating their homes – the definition of being in fuel poverty – but predict it could hit 9million within three years.

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Cameron will be punished by voters if he continues “irrational” protection of rich pensioners’ perks says Clegg

David Cameron will be punished by the voters if he continues his “irrational” protection of rich pensioners’ perks, Nick Clegg has warned.

During the 2010 election the Prime Minister guaranteed to continue free bus passes, winter fuel payments and free TV licences for pensioners for this Parliament. However, the Deputy Prime Minister said that the Tories would be “found out very quickly” if they tried to make the same promise before the next election in 2015.

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Our comment:We are inclined to think it is Nick Clegg who may be punished.

Fuel poverty could affect a further 300,000

Around 300,000 more households are likely to in ‘fuel poverty’ by Christmas thanks to recent increases in energy prices, according to an advisory body.

The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG) is calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to take stronger and more ambitious action to tackle ‘spiralling’ fuel poverty levels.

The group said recent price rises have resulted in a 7% increase in average annual energy bills and direct debit customers now pay £1,247 per year, while those paying by cash and cheque pay £1,336.

Recent estimates have shown that over nine million households could be living in fuel poverty by 2016, according to the FPAG.

It said that nearly half of the households currently considered to be in fuel poverty – which is defined as having to spend over 10% of income on heating – are older people.

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Disability Living Allowance Poverty fear at disability support axe: 500,000 could see payments cut

Hardest Hit, a coalition of 90 disability groups, said replacing Disability Living Allowance with personal independence payments next year may force 50,400 out of work.

It added that up to 500,000 people could see their benefits cut.

The study says George Osborne has already cut support for the disabled by £500million since his 2010 emergency budget.

Campaign chairman Jaspal Dhani said: “Disabled people, those with long-term conditions and their families are already at risk of hardship and face massive barriers to getting into work and education.

“Cuts to the support they depend upon risk pushing them into poverty, debt and isolation.

“The Chancellor has just announced a further £10 billion cut to the welfare budget.

“With £9 billion having already been removed from disability benefits and services in this Parliament, disabled people are already at a tipping point.

“The Government has some urgent choices to make, but must rule out targeting disabled people for further spending cuts in the next Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review.”
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More than 1 in 5 British pensioners at risk of poverty

British pensioners are among Europe’s poorest, with more than two million older people at risk of poverty, official figures reveal. The UK is ranked fourth out of 27 European countries in data from the Office for National Statistics, behind only Cyprus, Bulgaria and Spain.

More than one in five (21.4 per cent) of older British people were classed as being at risk of poverty in 2010, “significantly higher” than the EU average of 15.9 per cent, the ONS said. Charities said the figures should be a “wake-up call” to the plight of millions of older people and called for a radical shake-up of the pension system.

Michelle Mitchell, of Age UK said: “The Government must continue to work proactively on ways of getting money to older people in desperate need. Independent information and advice and face-to-face communication are key to improving the take-up of benefits.”
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OAPS RAID CHILDREN’S PIGGY BANKS

HARD-UP pensioners are having to ask their children for money because the recession has left them out of pocket.

In a reversal of the tradition of the Bank of Mum and Dad, where parents pay off student loans or help their children with deposits for houses, more than a third of retirees admit to being forced to ask for handouts to pay their household bills.

Today’s “forgotten generation” of pensioners cannot keep up with soaring energy and food bills as their incomes plummet either because of low interest rates on their savings or because pensions are not paying as much as expected.

A poll of 2,000 retirees has revealed that 34 per cent have had to ask their children for money over the past year, while 33 per cent fear they will have to sell their houses to survive.

Nearly half said they had taken on some part-time work to supplement their income and just over one in six admitted not having any savings.

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one in six people retiring this year will depend on state pension only

Tens of thousands of pensioners retiring this year will rely on nothing but the state to fund the retirement because they have no private pension to their name, research suggests.

One in six people retiring in 2012 will quit work without any form of pension saving. They will instead depend almost entirely on state – which will pay a basic £107.45 a week from this Thursday 6 April – to fund their old age.

The revelation comes as the Government makes cuts to the top-ups it gives to the poorest old people. Changes to the Pensions Credit announced in the Budget mean some pensioners will be deprived of up to £276 a year in income.

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Our comment: Looking on the brighter side, people with only state pension as income will get the full benefit of this April’s pension increase.

In same poll by insurance provider Prudential has found that the average Briton is planning to rely on the state pension for over a third of their income.

Half of pensioners surveyed by Age UK have turned heating down when they are not warm enough in attempt to save money

A growing number of UK pensioners are falling into fuel poverty as a result of high gas and electricity prices, according to a new study from Age UK.

An ICM survey conducted on behalf of the charity found that nearly half of the 1,000 pensioners polled said they turned their heating down when not warm enough in an effort to save money.

The study also revealed that 2 million pensioners around the country are regularly going to bed when they are not tired just to keep warm.

Mervyn Kohler from Age UK was quoted in the Guardian as saying, ‘The figures are stark and show that people have been shaken rigid by the enormous rise in prices we saw in the second half of last year, and for individuals living on fairly straitened incomes, that hike in one of the two essential areas – the other being food – has really put the frighteners on our older population,’

Read more on Totally Money

and in The Guardian

Helen Mirren joins fight to prevent old-age pensioners dying from the cold

Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren has a new supporting role in a campaign to stop people freezing to death this winter.

Dame Helen is one of a growing band of celebrities who has pledged cash to Surviving Winter, a charity set up to help pensioners and hard-up families ­struggling to pay their record energy bills.

The organisation, which also has the backing of Saga, expects its fundraising to hit £1million during Big Energy Week – this week.

Dame Helen told Your Money: “When I heard about the Surviving Winter Appeal, I wanted to be involved and was happy to donate because I believe passionately that we need to support the vulnerable and elderly in our local communities. Those who can afford to should be encouraged to help those in greater need.”

The campaign started in October last year, by urging well-off pensioners to hand back their government Winter Fuel Payments so the money could be “­recycled” to people facing a stark choice between heating and eating.