50% of pensioners struggling with finances

14 April 2011

Almost half of UK pensioners are struggling to make ends meet, with some being forced to cut down on food, new research has revealed.

Figures from Age UK, polling 1,258 people, show 47% of older people are "just getting by" while 11% say they are finding it difficult to cope.

Some 26% of pensioners said they were buying less food while 19% said they had cut down on heating during the winter.

These findings are backed up by a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which shows many people over the age of 65 are finding themselves too poor to retire.

The ONS figures revealed almost a third of new jobs created in the past year went to pensioners, with the number of pensioners in employment rising from 113,000 to 885,000 in the last 12 months.

Age UK says despite just under half of all pensioners being entitled to pension credit – a top up for people on low incomes – a third of people don't claim it. This is because many pensioners are unaware of the help available.

The charity says the majority of people surveyed said that claiming pensioner benefits had improved their quality of life or helped them worry less about making ends meet.

Michelle Mitchell, Age UK's charity director, says: "At a time when so many people are struggling financially, it is unacceptable that vital benefits are failing to reach some of the poorest and most vulnerable older people in our society. This is money that could make a huge difference to people's quality of life."


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