In the spring, Ofgem announced its Insight for Future Regulation project, and has now produced the first paper of a series: first Future Insights discussion paper. It sets out some of the dramatic changes in the way we use and buy energy which might come about in the next five or ten years.
First, a health warning – past predictions are not a firm guide to the future, though they are the best we have got. Between December 2012 and March 2016, the number of active gas or electricity suppliers in the domestic market doubled from 20 to 43. Forecasts by the (then) Department of Trade and Industry in 2000 for electricity demand in 2015 turned out to be 20% too high – our appliances are much more efficient than anticipated. Continue reading
Posted in Consumers, Economy, Energy
Tagged #energybills, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, energy bills, energy older people, Insights for future regulation Ofgem, Insights for Future Regulation project, Ofgem, Ofgem Future Insights programme, older people
Age Uk campaigners deliver ‘dont cut care’ petition signatures to Chancellor of exchequers office, no 11 Downing street, London
This post was contributed by Angela Kitching, joint Head of Public Affairs, at Age UK.
‘A spending review for pensioners’ seems to be the reaction of many in the twittersphere, following George Osborne’s statement. Certainly, the Government’s ongoing commitment to the triple lock, up rating pensions by earnings, prices or 2.5%, is very welcome ongoing commitment. A decent state pension is vital to many older people who rely on the state as their sole source of income in later life and it sets a foundation for a decent retirement income.
But if we restrict our view to incomes alone, we are missing the bigger picture. Older people, as any council funding chief or hospital manager will tell you, are significant users of public services. Adult social care budgets are under enormous pressure as it stands. Over 1 million people aged over-65 do not receive the social care support they need and are coping with no help. These needs include help with basic activities such as going to the toilet or getting dressed. Continue reading
Posted in Autumn Statement, Economy, Government, Public Policy, Spending Review
Tagged #spendingreview, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Autumn Statement 2015, Autumn Statement and Spending Review 2015, older people, Spending Review 2015
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
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