One in three pensioners cutting back on essentials to make ends meet

fuel povertyNearly one third of over-60s living in the UK have to make major sacrifices in the face of rising costs for heating, food and luxuries, new research has found.

A study conducted by retirement property website Homewise revealed that around 12 per cent of over-60s say they cannot afford to heat their homes and up to 10 per cent are eating less to have enough spare money to be able to get by.

Almost one in three have admitted to cutting back on their spending, borrowing from family and friends and selling their possessions because they do not have enough money to live off.

The latest Government figures reveal that that average household income of someone aged 60 and over after tax and housing costs is approximately £297 per week, and that incomes increased by nearly 20 per cent in the last decade.

The study reveals that around 600,000 people aged 60 and over (seven per cent) have less than £50 a week in spare money as millions of other older people make significant sacrifices to adapt to the increasing cost of living.

Managing director at Homewise, Mark Neal, said: “The rise in average pensioner incomes is very welcome but it does not tell the whole story and the sacrifices that many have to make in order to get by.

“Far too many people in retirement are stuck in debt, living in unsuitable housing and having to scrimp and save.”

The study of 1,100 over-60s was conducted by independent research agency Consumer Intelligence between 24th May and 1st June 2016 and revealed that around 15 per cent of people over the age of 60 said they have sold possessions as they do not have enough money to live on.

The research highlights the growing pressures facing older people as they approach retirement which have been exacerbated by state pension age rises, despite the rise in the average incomes of over-60s.

The charity Age UK recently revealed that increases in average life expectancy had led to a rise in the state pension age, however with many people living in deprived areas and lower social classes they may be unlikely to reach state pension age in good health.

Commenting on state pension rises, charity director of Age UK, Caroline Abraham, said: “We already know that increasing the state pension age based on average life expectancy will cause hardship for many people.

“It is, of course, reasonable to consider raising the state pension age as overall life expectancy goes up – but as a blanket approach, it risks leaving many people facing serious problems in later life through no fault of their own. In fact, as the state pension age climbs ever higher, many of those with lower life expectancies – who are also likely to be on lower incomes – may end up with little or no time left in retirement to enjoy.”

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