Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Almost 1 mln over 75 in Britain living in poverty

A leading charity said in a major report Monday that 950,000 pensioners aged 75 and over in Britain are living in poverty.

Independent Age, set up 150 years ago to campaign for older people, said the over 75s are thousands of dollars a year worse off than both younger "baby boomer" pensioners and working age adults.

Meanwhile, the charity warns those aged 75 and over are also more likely to live in persistent poverty than younger pensioners.

The report examines the financial circumstances of older people who lived through the Second World War, sometimes called the "Silent Generation." It uses British government household income data to look at disparities between different groups of pensioners.

The report challenges recent stereotypes of "wealthy pensioners" and shows how inequality persists into retirement.

The report's key findings show the average income of older (75 and over) pensioners is 85 U.S. dollars a week less than younger pensioners and 161 U.S. dollars a week less than working age adults.

A spokesman for the charity said: "While higher incomes from private pensions and earnings have helped drive a rise in pensioner incomes overall in the last 5 years, older pensioners have missed out on many of these increases. The incomes of older pensioners have remained static since 2010."

Janet Morrison, the charity's CEO, said today: "These findings show how misleading it is to treat all 11.8 million pensioners in this country as one group. It would be foolish to assume that inequality simply ceases to exist at retirement age, but that is exactly what some of the recent rhetoric around 'intergenerational unfairness' does. The Silent Generation of older pensioners, renters and single women have missed out on many of the gains of recent years.

"This is the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' generation that lived through the Second World War. The older people we spoke to as part of this research talked about 'keeping a brave face', 'cutting their cloth' and not wanting to ask for help. There is a real risk that this generation will be forgotten and left to suffer in silence."

Dr Matt Barnes from the Department of Sociology at City University London, who worked on the report, said: "There are huge variations in incomes of pensioners, with hundreds of thousands of older pensioners living below the poverty line."

Independent Age has called on the government to help poorer pensioners with a targeted campaign to ensure they get the help they need.
  [Xinhua - globaltimes.cn]
17/5/16

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