Our first blog post of the week looks at the findings from Age UK’s latest Chief Economist report. It focuses on the key economic aspects in the lives of many older people in the UK: inequality and poverty, and benefit take-up.
Almost 60 years ago, Peter Townsend studied the lives of older people in East London and wrote:
The object of national assistance is largely to make up income, on test of means, to a subsistence level… A general definition of need is incorporated in its scale rates, and these are applied to individual circumstances, with certain discretionary disregards and allowances. The sums are intended to cover food, fuel and light, clothing, and household sundries, beside rent, and sometimes, after investigation, small additions are made for laundry, domestic help, or special diet. This definition of ‘subsistence’, on such evidence as exists, appears to be completely unrealistic.
You would be forgiven if, after reading Age UK’s latest Chief Economist Report, you concluded that not much has changed over all those years. Because, though the material aspects of the lives of older people in the country, whether in East London or East Belfast, have undeniably improved since then – thanks in a great part to the way initially ploughed by Eleanor Rathbone MP and the Old People’s Welfare Committee, Age UK’s predecessor, the current state of poverty among older people still looks dismal and grim as much as what it was like in Bethnal Green in yesteryear. Continue reading
Posted in Benefits and entitlements, Economy, Government, Income, Money Matters
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Age UK Chief Economist report, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, benefits and entitlements, Chief Economist Report, Jose Iparraguirre Age UK, older people
Photo credit: Philip Taylor (Flickr Creative Commons)
This week’s blog from our General Election Series looks at why ensuring that everyone in later life has enough money is a key part of our ambition for the next Parliament.
While Age UK celebrates the fact that being older is no longer synonymous with being poor, sadly this is still the reality for too many. That is why ensuring that people have enough money is a key part of Age UK’s ambition for the next Parliament and the first of our blogs looking at our five priorities.
There are still 1.6 million older people living in poverty and many others living just above the poverty line. We know this can’t be changed overnight but we believe all politicians should commit to at least halving the numbers in poverty by the end of the next Parliament.
We have highlighted two ways to help achieve this. Firstly let’s ensure there is a decent State Pension that recognises years of work and caring. The full amount of the new State Pension being introduced on 6 April 2016 will be more than £150 a week and will provide a boost for many low earners and women who have spent many years caring or in part-time low paid work. Continue reading
Posted in Campaigning, General, General Election 2015, Government, Income, Money Matters, Pensions
Tagged #GeneralElection2015, #votelaterlife, A great place to grow older, a great place to grow older Age UK, Age UK, Age UK blog, Age UK General Election campaign, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Incomes, money matters, older people, pensioner poverty
Photo credit: Linus Bohman (Flickr Creative Commons)
This week’s guest blog is from across the Atlantic. David C. John is a senior strategic policy advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million older people across the USA.
American experience strongly suggests that the coming UK pension freedoms sound better in theory than they will work in practice. After nearly a decade where the UK has been the gold standard for retirement savings policy, it is about to take a step that it may regret.
As annuity purchases are not required, very few Americans buy them, feeling that they are spending a great deal of money for a comparatively small monthly income. Even those in traditional DB pension plans usually take a lump sum if they are allowed to do so. As a result, many US retirees spend unwisely, trust the wrong financial advisor, or make other financial mistakes.
Many people greatly overestimate how long their savings will last. Most others assume (often wrongly) that they can manage their own money as well as anyone else or that they can live comfortably on Social Security alone. US Social Security pays a benefit that depends on the retirees’ individual income history. The average annual amount is about $13,000 (GBP 8,700).
One survey found that in West Virginia, a state with a relatively low average income, 78% of those near retirement and 67% of those at retirement would likely outlive their financial assets. Workers with lower incomes are most at risk. A recent national study found that by the 20th year of retirement, more than 81% of Americans with incomes up to $27,000 would run short of money, as would 38% of those earning up to $42,000, and 19% of those with incomes up to $65,000. Even 8% of those with the highest incomes could not meet their expenses. Continue reading
Posted in Income, Money Matters, Pensions, Public Policy
Tagged AARP, AARP Public Policy Institute, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, changes to pensions Age UK, older people, pensions reform, private pension changes Age UK, private pensions, purchasing an annuity Age UK
The Pension Schemes Bill has nearly completed its passage through Parliament, taking a step closer this week as Peers considered the Bill at its Report Stage in the Lords. As you’d expect, Age UK has taken a keen interest in this Bill, which is part of the Government’s wider ranging reforms to pensions announced by the Chancellor in the Budget last spring – the most significant changes to private pensions for over a generation.
From this April, there will be great flexibility, and greater choice for older people to access their retirement savings but with greater choice comes more responsibility, and potential complexity and risks, for older people making these important choices. Generally speaking, the pension reforms are a really welcome move giving those with pension savings approaching retirement freedom and greater options about how to access their money. However, with greater flexibility can also come greater risks for consumers. Continue reading
Posted in Government, Income, Money Matters, Pensions
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Dashboards and Jam Jars Age UK report, older people, Pension Schemes Bill, Pension Schemes Bill Age UK, pensions, Pensions changes Age UK, pensions reform, private pensions changes Age UK