Chancellor's temporary measures for pensioners need to be backed up with long-term solutions
Substantial reforms that go further than the Chancellor's cost-of-living support are needed to tackle the systemic issues eroding the quality of later life.
With more than one in six people of pension age in the UK already living in relative poverty, we need action across government departments to tackle the wider problems that are leaving hundreds of thousands struggling through old age.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a number of measures to help support pensioners impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. Pensioner households will receive a one-off cost of living payment of £300 and the state pension triple lock will be restored.
Our Chief Executive, Carole Easton, welcomes this urgently needed financial boost but calls on the Government to urgently develop long-term plans to tackle the long-standing challenges that make growing older in the UK a difficult experience for many.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s cost-of-living emergency measures are welcome, but greater efforts are needed to tackle the systemic issues that continue to push pensioners into poverty and erode the quality of people’s later lives.
More than one in six people of pension age in the UK are in relative poverty and today’s announcements will only go some way to tackling this.
Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“We welcome the measures from the Treasury that deliver immediate help in alleviating the difficulties the most vulnerable people are already experiencing in the face of the cost-of-living crisis, especially with the alarming prospect that this situation will only deepen as we head into winter. We are pleased to see the Chancellor acknowledge that pensioners are particularly at risk from the soaring cost of living, and has provided measures specifically aimed to help them, with the one-off pension households cost of living payment and the restoration of the triple lock.
“But we must also acknowledge that there is much more to do to make this country a decent place to grow old in. We need action across government departments to tackle the wider systemic problems that are leaving hundreds of thousands struggling through old age.
“People are spending far too much of the money they have heating cold, draughty and inefficient homes. Almost 9,000 people died in England and Wales last year because their homes were too cold. The quality of our housing stock is shameful when compared to our peers in Western Europe and measures must be taken to improve the quality of homes. People need help with this and we call for the establishment of home improvement hubs in communities, with access to grants and government-backed loans.
“Older workers have been the most impacted by the fallout from the pandemic, with 246,000 fewer people aged 50-64 participating in the workforce compared to two years ago. This loss of income could not have come at a worse time as inflation starts to bite. The Government’s investment in ‘50 plus champions’ in Jobcentreplus has been a welcome development, but now is the time to get serious about providing support to encourage those who have disengaged from the labour market altogether. We are working with Greater Manchester Combined Authority to develop a model of what that could look like.
“We also need an enticing labour market - which means the government need to make good on promises to introduce flexible working and Carer’s Leave. This won’t just help older workers but also employers who will benefit from their knowledge and experience in the face of skills and labour shortages.”