- The government has recently abolished the pension ‘triple lock’ guarantee.
- Despite the expected £6 per week increase in pay, many say this is not enough
- People struggling for their basic pension say cost of living will go up
Millions of people who depend on basic state pensions to cope with old age poverty – despite an expected £6-a-week increase in payments at the end of this month.
The government recently scrapped the ‘triple lock’ guarantee, which ensured that state pension recipients received a minimum annual increase of 2.5 per cent or higher than inflation or wage increase. Pay link has been removed.
Yet those already struggling to survive on a basic state pension of £179.60 a week – or less – show that the rising cost of living will swallow up more than the expected £6-a-week increase.
Sylvia Deacon of Renham, Kent, is one of hundreds of pensioners who contacted The Mail on Sunday after participating in an experiment to try to survive on a basic state pension for a week.
Millions of people who depend on basic state pension to face poverty in old age
The 84-year-old says: ‘Sadly, my husband John died of pneumonia earlier this year. On top of the devastation of his loss, the harsh reality of trying to survive on a widow’s pension is tough.’
She adds: ‘You get less money, but it still costs the same to heat the house – and pay other bills too.
‘This year, with prices going up, it’s going to be tougher than ever. A state pension increase of £6 a week will not suffice.’
Sylvia receives £240 a week from income from a small personal pension on top of her state pension.
She points out that unexpected bills can easily push people like her into poverty.
She recently spent £1,000 on a new bed – because she couldn’t sleep in the same double bed she once shared with John.
James Robert-Pollen believes it is shameful that people are expected to survive on state pensions – and women in particular are often left out of pocket because they have earned enough as a result of bringing up a family. National Insurance contribution not paid.
Those struggling on £179.60 a week say rising cost of living will eat up the £6-a-week increase
The 73-year-old from Bexhill, East Sussex, who is married to former 1960s model Kitty Gordon, says: ‘The government makes great guns about how it wants to level up.
‘But just look at how members of the House of Lords are paid twice the weekly basic state pension per day – and many are enjoying a rock-solid public sector pension as well. It shows how politicians are not in touch with genuine pensioners.
Action groups are also concerned that the projected increase in state pensions will not be enough to cover the cost of the rising bills.
Dennis Reid, director of campaign organization Silver Voices, says: ‘The real cost of life crisis for people of retirement age is rising.
“Next year the basic state pension may increase by just 3 per cent – but it will not keep pace with the cost of living.
‘Unfortunately, the two biggest expenses for pensioners are energy and food. Sadly, these are suffering from very high price hikes – with prices increasing by perhaps 10 per cent or more in the next year.’
He adds: ‘If the government had not dropped the triple lock, we could have expected a hike of around 8 per cent in pensions.
“This would have helped at least the pensioners who are on the breadline. Now, there is a real danger that many of them will fall into poverty.
Pensioners could get worse at £150 a year
The new basic state pension of £179.60 per week is expected to rise 3.3 per cent from April – in line with the projected increase in the Consumer Price Index for September, due to be published later this month.
This would also apply to those born before April 1945, who receive £137.60 weekly which then rises to £177.10 by claiming a pension credit.
Despite the projected £308-a-year increase for the state pension, it would be swallowed up by the rising cost of living – which could work out to more than £458 per year. In reality, the situation for pensioners could be worse at £150 a year.
Energy costs are set to rise by 12 percent starting this month – adding £139 to the average annual gas and electricity bill.
Council tax could increase by 5 per cent – a typical increase of £60 per year – and groceries could rise by over £100 per person per year.
Outraging the financial damage, the BBC is also demanding that people over 75 pay £159 per year for their previously free TV licences.