In a surprise announcement at the start of 2014 David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that maintaining the ‘triple lock’ for the basic state pension will be a key part of the Conservative’s next election manifesto. This would mean that, at least until 2020, the basic state pension would be increased annually by the rise in prices, earnings or 2.5 per cent – whichever is higher. In response the Labour leader Ed Miliband has also said he is committed to the triple lock.
Reaction has been variable. Some newspapers immediately suggested this would affect other benefits such as the winter fuel payment – the Daily Mail’s headline was ‘Turmoil over OAP benefits’. The Independent welcomed the announcement but said it does not go far enough pointing out that the basic pension is still only £110 a week.
Alternatively, others have focussed on what this means for younger people with the Intergenerational Foundation stating the move is unaffordable and ‘betrays’ the younger generation. Continue reading
Posted in Consumers, Government, Income, Money Matters
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Coalition Government, Conservative election manifesto, Conservativr election manifesto pensions, David Cameron pensions, David Cameron triple-lock, general election, general election 2015, Government, Incomes, money matters, older people, pensions, pensions triple lock, state pension, triple-lock, universal be, value of state pension triple lock
Traditionally debt has been seen as mainly a concern for younger people with older people more likely to believe you should ‘cut your coat according to your cloth’ and save up for items rather than use credit. However there have been media reports suggesting this may be changing with headlines such as ‘Debt crisis for the over 60s’, and some information and advice services are reporting more older people seeking help with debts.
At Age UK we wanted to find out more about the extent and level of debt in later life and whether this has changed over time. So we commissioned the independent think tank International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) to carry out a detailed analysis looking at debt among people in later life. Continue reading
Posted in Income, Money Matters, Research
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, credit, debt, debt advice, debt advisers, Debt and problem debt among older people', debt crisis, debt in later life, financial services, ILC-UK, Income Poverty, Incomes, Information and Advice, International Longevity Centre, International Longevity Centre – UK, let's talk money, money matters, older people, poverty, problem debt, Problem Debt Among Older People, research, Tales of the Tallyman: Debt and problem debt among older people'
Last week saw the publication of the long awaited White Paper on State Pension reform. This sets out plans for a single-tier State Pension of around £144 a week for people reaching State Pension age in the future (probably from April 2017 onwards). The reforms aim to create a simpler system, reducing the need for means-testing and making planning for retirement easier. They are also intended to produce a fairer system with a better State Pension for those who have had years of low earnings and caring responsibilities.
Age UK supports these aims and we have welcomed the reforms as an important step forward for future pensioners. However we are aware that there are criticisms. In particular many older people with State Pensions of less than £144 are angry that they will not benefit. Continue reading
Posted in Income, Money Matters
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing society, draft Pensions Bill, Income, Incomes, money matters, pension reform, pensions, Pensions Bill, retirement, Sally West, saving, Single-tier pension, single-tier State Pension, state pension, State pension reform, State Pension reform white paper, state pension system
Winter fuel payments are in the news yet again. I have lost count of the number of reports and media articles I have read about why these should be reformed and how the money could be better used to cut the deficit or transform our failing system of care or solve some other crisis. And please don’t tell me again that millionaires don’t need a winter fuel payment or a bus pass. Of course not – but let’s make policy changes based on the position of majority of older people not the small minority who are very rich. (when the Deputy Prime Minister pointed out last year that Alan Sugar didn’t need a bus pass Lord Sugar tweeted in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t have one!).
Photo: HarlanH (Creative Commons)
So should we be looking at restricting universal payments to the less well off? It has been suggested that they should just go to people receiving Pension Credit. However that would mean that up to 1.6 million of the poorest older people would miss out because they are not claiming the Pension Credit they are entitled to. The big advantage of universal payments is that they reach everyone including those do not take up means-tested benefits. They also provide some extra help to the ‘not rich but not poor’ group who can feel because they made sacrifices during their working lives they miss out on benefits and are penalised for having saved. Continue reading
Posted in Income, Money Matters
Tagged #spreadthewarmth, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing society, fuel poverty, money matters, older people, Pension Credit, pensions, spread the warmth, Spread the Warmth campaign, universal benefits, Winter Fuel Payments