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Pension Poverty: Uk Among Europe's Worst

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# Home # Pensions Pension poverty: UK among Europe's worst

Campaigners are calling on the Government to end the shame of the nation's pensioner poverty, as a new report shows the UK to be one of the poorest in the continent.

Data from the European Commission, show that the UK has the fourth highest levels of poverty amongst over-65s in Europe‚ says Age Concern and Help the Aged.

Even before the recession set in‚ a higher proportion of older people in the UK were living on incomes far below the national average compared to those in countries considered less developed, such as Poland and Romania.

The EU research‚ which compares relative poverty in the 27 member states‚ shows that almost one in three UK over-65s were living in poverty in 2007‚ the same proportion as in Lithuania, at 30%.

In Sweden and the Netherlands, the percentages are a third of the UK's level. Pensioners in the UK experience the biggest drop in income when they retire‚ with average incomes slashed to 30% of their last salary.

In most leading European economies‚ pensioner poverty levels are either below or slightly above the EU average of 19%. Just Cyprus, at 51%, Latvia, at 33% and Estonia, with 33%, have it worse than the UK.

Commenting on the EC's report, Michelle Mitchell‚ charity director for Age Concern and Help the Aged, said: 'What this report clearly shows is that‚ even before the recession set in‚ many older people weren't keeping up with the pace at which the general wealth of the nation has increased over the past years. This means they risk being increasingly excluded from community life.

'In a country where the richest have incomes five times higher than the poorest‚ older people are disproportionately bearing the burden of this inequality. To lift millions of pensioners out of poverty and prevent this situation from getting worse in the future‚ this government and the next must find a more effective system to ensure benefits reach those who need them and meet the existing commitment to reform the pension system by 2012.'

The EC's figures arrive just ahead of the publication, on this Thursday, 30 July, of the Work and Pension Committee's review of the Government's strategy to tackle the issue.

Age Concern and Help the Aged are calling on ministers to scale up their efforts to stamp out pensioner poverty. Levels have remained stubbornly high in the past four years and no progress was been made in the run-up to the recession‚ according to the Government's own figures, says Mitchell.

Recent research by the charity showed one in five people aged 60 and over are skipping meals to save money on food‚ while two fifths are struggling to afford essential items. Another survey showed that seven in ten over-65s are resorting to thrifty skills picked up during the war and post-war years to help them through the recession.

Although millions of older people in the UK have lower incomes compared to the national average‚ the report shows only around 5% of them are materially deprived‚ which is a measure based on questions such as whether they can meet unexpected expenses or afford items like a one week annual holiday away from home‚ meat or fish every second day‚ a colour TV or a car.

Hmmm. It's a real shame, isn't it? A nation which touts(ed) itself as a financial stalwart and innovator is actually wholly poverty stricken. We are so heavily censured and controlled in this ridiculously expensive police state, so afraid and bitter, that we let the elderly and young bear the brunt instead of sticking our necks out and making a change.

Or is it..."Shut up grandma. here, take this old horse blanket. Piss off and eat your cat food"

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We are only good as long as we are productive and have a positive input.....family values and respect are a dying breed in today's 'New Britain'. :(

We are harvesting our own punishment.

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All falls out of this obsession with income.

So long as we live in a country where some people can earn above average income, yet have less money after housing costs than someone on the dole, measures of poverty that focus on income are doomed to be worse than meaningless.

[edit to add] I have no doubt that if anyone were to measure my parents (who are pensioners), they'd find them to be in poverty. My parents are not poor, unless by comparison to a lot of very rich folks. They have vastly more spending money than when they were supporting a family, a mortgage, and the taxman.

Edited by porca misèria

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pensioner poverty hasn't even begun yet.jsut wait till we default on the public sector pensions and cease backstopping all the failed private sector ones.

do you mean inflation-default, or out-right default? and how soon? over coming decades (that's my thought)

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pensioner poverty hasn't even begun yet.jsut wait till we default on the public sector pensions and cease backstopping all the failed private sector ones.

That's when you'll be really glad of all those investment properties ;)

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Guest spp

"It shows that Britain is leading the world not just in film but fashion, music and design - and long may that be the case - as a result of the great talent that we have".

Thank you Gordy...that will be enough for tonight.

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pensioner poverty hasn't even begun yet.jsut wait till we default on the public sector pensions and cease backstopping all the failed private sector ones.

...and as usual we the people will do nothing. <_<

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Remenber this is relative poverty, few (hopefully none) pensioners will actually starve. There is a growing gap between the rich and the poor in this country for everyone.

Older pensioners suffer from isolation there are alot better equiped for the new world than the rest of us who can't live without skinny lattes and ipods

Age concern and the government know pensioners vote in record numbers. Age concern are flexing their muscles. To make sure when the cuts come it's rich and the young who get hammered first.

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The main problem is that old people are stupid and don't claim the benefit they are entitled to. This is hardly the fault of the government that introduced a guaranteed minimum income levels for lazy old spongers.

The idiot Tories want universal benefits so the old tw@ts that are too stupid to claim get the money anyway.

How will that cut public spending and sort out the economy?

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