Friday, October 01, 2010

old and poor

There are one million fewer pensioners in poverty than a decade ago, according to figures out today from the Office for National Statistics but over this period the proportion of pensioners' income that comes from working has almost doubled, while the proportion coming from the state has fallen.The fall in the number of pensioners in poverty appears to be largely attributable to pensioners themselves, who are increasingly continuing to work to generate income. Employers and the state are scaling back pension provision so we can expect this trend to accelerate for future generations of pensioners.

The bottom fifth of pensioner couples received total income of £10,244 per annum, compared with the £39,260 received by the top fifth.

The majority of the UK’s single pensioners are living on the poverty line, with the basic state pension not even covering monthly bills. Government figures confirm what many retirees in Britain are well aware of – they’re living on the poverty line. With the basic pension now at a meagre £97 per week, the average single pensioner must live on as little as £27 per day, even with add-ons.

The report from the Office for National Statistics states that 53 per cent of UK single retirees receive less than £10,000 per annum from all sources, an amount which barely covers heat and light, telephone charges, council tax, water rates, TV license and basic food. Luxuries such as travel to visit relatives, holidays or even a pet to keep them company are out.

Pensioners over 75 had on average 22% less income than pensioners under 75. The report revealed that retirees up to and over the age of 75 are resigned to having to keep working if at all possible. The largest source of income, 31 per cent, for pensioners under 75 is earnings, indicating that most are still working in order to survive, with income from their savings at an all-time low. To make matters worse, the ONS report found that a smaller but substantial number of pensioners received even less, with six per cent getting less than £5,000 annually. Pensioners’ savings are being raided just to get by.

The CEO of the National Association of Pension Funds, Joanne Segars, stated that the UK State pension is one of the worst in the whole of Europe.

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