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.”