This blog was contributed by Hannah Pearce, Age UK’s joint Head of Public Affairs.
Every few years the government announces its intention to fundamentally reform the pension system once and for all to ensure it is fair and sustainable for current and future generations. Each of these attempts is made with good intentions and with the hope that the changes will last. However a few years down the line the next government decides it’s time to try again. I’m already working on my fourth pension bill since beginning work for Age UK.
Successive governments are compelled to grapple with the pensions system to catch up with societal changes such as increases in life expectancy, changes in working patterns and to counter structural unfairness. For example several of the state pension reforms in the 2007 Pensions Act sought to ensure that the pension system better reflected the lives of women who often have some time out of employment caring for children, older family members, or working part time.
The compelling reasons for reform under the current proposals were to create a system which is intended to be fairer, simpler and more sustainable. Under the single tier system individuals will receive a state pension based on their own contribution record of up to £146 in today’s money if they have a full record of 35 years contributions. Continue reading
Posted in Government, Money Matters
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Government, Hannah Pearce Age UK, money and benefits, money matters, older people, pension changes, pensioner poverty, pensions, Pensions Bill, Pensions Bill 2nd Reading, Pensions Bill Second Reading, retirement, Single-tier pension, state pension, State pension reform
Unlikely as it sounds, a recent 153 page legal decision about VAT returns could prove to be a turning point in the campaign to get recognition of the needs of many older people when it comes to using online services.
In what’s being hailed as a significant and closely watched decision, a judge has upheld the right of three small business owners not to file their VAT returns on line. Two of those who brought the court case have disabilities. The other lives in a remote part of the country without reliable broadband access.
In her ruling, the judge said it is a breach of the human rights act to require VAT forms to be filed online without exemption for older people, those with disabilities or who live in isolated parts of the country.
For Age UK, the decision is very welcome. Equal access to services not just for older people but everyone, has long been one of our core campaigning goals. Continue reading
Posted in Consumers, Digital inclusion, Equality and Human Rights, Money Matters
Tagged #HumanRights, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, consumers, Digital inclusion, equal access to services, equality and human rights, filing VAT returns, filling out VAT forms, Human Rights, Human Rights Act, money matters, older consumers, older people, using technology, using the internet, VAT returns
This blog was contributed by Barbara Limon, Programme Manager – Private Sector, at Age UK.
The Money Advice Service, the statutory body responsible for financial capability is currently developing a new strategy for the UK. But just what does an age-friendly financial capability strategy look like?
Contrary to the stereotype of later life as a time of stagnation, as we age we may need to adjust to events such as falling income, changing health, the need to care for a partner or bereavement. At the same time, the external world continues to present new challenges, as technologies and the prevailing economic conditions change for good or ill.
Age UK’s Planning for Later Life project, funded by Prudential, is designed to help people adapt to just some of these challenges. Initially piloted with 11 local Age UKs across England and Wales, to date it has helped 2,590 older people through face to face advice sessions, home visits and telephone support. From January 2014 we will be rolling it out more widely. Continue reading
Posted in Consumers, Money Matters, Public Policy
Tagged @YourMoneyAdvice, Age UK, Age UK blog, age-friendly financial capability strategy, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, consumers, financial capability, financial resilience, Money Advice Service, Money Advice Service Financial Capability report, money matters, older consumers, older people, Planning for Later Life project, Prudential
Last week Age UK launched the second edition of its Economic Tracker . This addition includes the result of the first wave of a survey we have developed to track older peoples’ views on the economy and their financial situation.
It received quite a lot of coverage in the media, particularly because of the startling statistic the nearly a quarter of people in their early 50s were worried about losing their home as a result of falling behind with mortgage repayments. Like other age groups many older people are suffering a fall in income in the current period of austerity and this is having an impact on their well-being.
- Over three million people aged 50+ are very worried about the cost of living. This is in the context of rapidly increasing prices for some essential items, especially utilities, which we know have a significant impact on older people’s finances.
- Only thirty-eight per cent of 50+ say the future looks good for them
- 35% feel worse off financially compared to last year (see chart below)
Since our first edition, the UK economy and economic policy have given us food for thought. There are concerns, disappointments, and one or two silver linings. As our polling data suggests the economic situation is particularly worrying for many of those approaching retirement, tomorrow’s pensioners, who find it more difficult to find a job following redundancy. Our analysis has found that older workers are more likely to be made redundant when compared to those aged between 24 – 49. This translates into higher proportions of older unemployed workers being out of work for longer. Forty-seven per cent of unemployed people aged 50 – 64 have been out of work for 12 months or more compared to thirty-seven per cent of people aged between 25 and 49. The situation of older people is not as bad as those between 16 – 24, but it is important to highlight that all ages are struggling in these tough economic times.
Quite rightly there is a lot of attention on the young unemployed at the moment, but we must ensure that those over 50 are not forgotten. More can be done by the Government and employers to recognise the value of workers over 50 (the experience and skills that come with a longer working life), provide more training and learning for those in later life, and do more to eliminate the ageism that too often occurs in workplaces.
Read more about the impact of the economy on the financial well-being of older people
Find out what benefits you are entitled to
Posted in Consumers, Economy, Employment, Income, Money Matters
Tagged #economictracker, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, benefits advice, benefits and entitlements, benefits calculator, benefits check, consumers, Economic Tracker, economy, Employment, Incomes, Money & benefits, money and benefits, money matters, older consumers, older people, older unemployed, older workers, pensioner poverty, pensioners, pensioners’ benefits, tomorrow’s pensioners, UK economy, unemployed, universal benefits, Work