We have heard a lot lately from various politicians about the need to examine the universal benefits received by older people and in particular the concessionary bus pass. It seems that in the age of austerity, even something that has been so successful and proved so popular, is subject to review.
But it is not just the threat from government to withdraw the bus pass from all but the poorest, there is also the threat to bus funding from the imminent spending review. Cuts to bus services will hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest.
Older and disabled people have hugely benefited from free bus travel and often rely on public transport to do their shopping, get to their GP and hospital appointments and visit friends. Continue reading
Posted in Communities and inclusion, Government, Money Matters, Public Policy, Transport
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, bus cuts, bus pass, free bus travel, Government, Government & society, isolation, loneliness, Money & benefits, money matters, older people, public transport, rural ageing, rural issues, rural living, the impact on older people of cuts to rural bus services, transport, universal benefits
This blog was contributed by Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution.
The recent prediction from the energy regulator OFGEM that energy bills are likely to rise as the UK becomes more dependent on gas is more bad news for British households facing ever mounting financial pressure.
The average dual fuel energy bill now costs a household over £1,400 each year. As the energy bills bite, fuel poverty is now rocketing out of control, affecting 1 in 4 families in the UK. A fuel poverty crisis is unfolding before our eyes.
Behind these figures lies a real human tragedy. Thousands of older people die from the cold every year and in extreme cases people are left with the stark choice of whether to feed their family or heat their home. Many of those most affected are the most vulnerable, older people, the disabled and young children.
The reaction of the Government to this crisis is lamentable. Despite their protestations that they are doing all they can to help the figures speak for themselves. They have cut spending on the fuel poor by 26% and slashed funding for energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor by 44%. This is despite the fact that experts recognise by far the best long term solution to fuel poverty is to super insulate the UK housing stock. The result is that fuel poverty is getting worse and by 2016 there could be up to 9 million households in fuel poverty. Continue reading
Posted in Consumers, Energy, Energy Bill Revolution, Income, Money Matters
Tagged #EnergyBillRev, #energybills, #fuelpoverty, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing society, energy, Energy Bill Revolution campaign, Energy Bill Revolution coalition, energy consumption, energy efficiency, energy prices, fuel poverty, Health, Health & wellbeing, home energy efficiency, home insulation, Money & benefits, money matters, older people, poverty, spread the warmth, Spread the Warmth campaign, winter, winter deaths
Age UK’s Moneybus has helped older people claim more than £300,000 in health and income benefits. Sponsored by Legal and General, the Moneybus visited English regions with the highest number of older people that are eligible for financial benefits, but haven’t claimed – Cheshire, Leeds, East Riding, Bradford and District, Country Durham, Northumberland and Wiltshire. Pippa Webster, who manages Age UK Salisbury’s Information and Advice department, tell us about her experience on the bus.
When the Moneybus came to Salisbury at the beginning of October, I spent the day giving advice to all those who climbed aboard. The organisation of the event and the Age UK volunteers who came as support were absolutely fantastic – giving away 950 goody bags and encouraging more than 50 people to come into the bus to discuss the benefits they might be entitled to.
Although it was a bit of a tight squeeze at times, it was remarkable how many older people came along to see us who weren’t at all perturbed at discussing their financial situation with us on a bus! Continue reading
Posted in Campaigning, Income, Money Matters
Tagged #moneybus, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing society, campaigning, Legal and General, Money & benefits, money matters, moneybus roadshow, More Money in Your Pocket, More Money in Your Pocket campaign, older people
October 1st, the day Auto-enrolment started, may just have signalled a revolution in how we save for retirement. By 2017 every business will have to automatically contribute to and enrol all staff over the age of 22 who earn more than £8,105 into a workplace pension. When it’s fully up and running, it’s hoped that six to nine million more people will have a private pension. At Age UK, we sincerely hope it will be the nudge some people need to start saving.
Just 2.9 million people paid into a workplace pension last year, an all- time low and a deeply disturbing trend when combined with rising life expectancy. Yet more people are living longer after retirement than ever before, many of them struggling on a basic state pension of around £107.
Auto-enrolment is an important first step in reform, helping people begin to build up a nest egg for later life . But in order to fully live up to its potential, the Government has to go further and faster.
Age UK believes if auto-enrolment is to appeal more widely, particularly to those on low incomes, the Government must deliver its commitment to a flat rate pension . This should alleviate the concerns of those who fear it will jeopardise any means tested benefits they receive and give them a better idea of how much money they should expect at retirement, encouraging them to save.
Posted in Income, Work and Learning
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing society, auto-enrolment, Income, Money & benefits, money matters, NEST, older people, pensions, poverty, retirement