The latest annual report from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) covers the year 2011 – many energy price hikes and policy changes ago. The headline is that in England, the numbers of households in fuel poverty fell, from 3.3m in 2010 to 3.2m (and in the UK from 4.75m to 4.5m). These are the households which need to spend 10% or more of their income on energy to keep adequately warm, a definition we have all become accustomed to using. But DECC’s report has turned into a statistical soup, as it struggles to introduce a new definition of fuel poverty (which measures two different things), and reports anyway on a year long forgotten.
For what it’s worth, 2011 was mild (for both the winter months at the beginning and end), and this led to a fall in national domestic energy consumption. It was also the last year when the (now abolished) Warm Front programme was operating at full speed – the tax-funded grant programme targeted on low income households – so energy efficiency improvements were driving forward alongside the schemes offered by the energy supply companies to save energy.
Posted in Campaigning, Consumers, Energy, Energy Bill Revolution, Money Matters, Spread the Warmth campaign
Tagged #EnergyBillRev, #energybills, #fuelpoverty, #spreadthewarmth, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, DECC, Department for Energy and Climate Change, energy, Energy Bill Revolution, Energy Bill Revolution campaign, Energy Company Obligation, energy consumption, energy prices, fuel poverty, Health and Wellbeing, home energy efficiency, money and benefits, money matters, older people, Pension Credit, poverty, spread the warmth, Spread the Warmth campaign, the green deal, warm homes discount
Welfare reform and the benefits system have been high on the news agenda recently, but an often overlooked issue is the persistent problem of pensioner poverty. With 1.7m pensioners (14%) currently living in poverty, and £5.5bn pounds of benefits left unclaimed by pensioners, Age UK has re-launched its Let’s Talk Money campaign.
A significant amount of research highlights that there are many reasons why older people aren’t claiming the benefits that they are entitled to – from a perception that the application process is too complicated, to the belief that they don’t qualify.
With so many people slipping through the net, Age UK aims to challenge the myths around eligibility, and encourage older people to claim the benefits that they are entitled to so that they can make the most of later life.
The campaign continues to focus on encouraging older people to claim the benefits they are entitled to, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Attendance Allowance.
People on low incomes can use the extra money that benefits provide to pay for utility bills, broken appliances or some much needed help around the house – removing financial stress that is a burden for so many. Continue reading
Posted in Campaigning, Income, Money Matters
Tagged #letstalkmoney, Age UK, Age UK Advice Line, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Attendance Allowance, benefit calculator, benefit entitlement, benefits, benefits advice, benefitscheck, housing benefit, Income, let's talk money, let's talk money campaign, money, money matters, More Money in Your Pocket, older people, Pension Credit
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