Joanna Elson, Chief Executive of national older person’s financial hardship charity Independent Age, said:
“Today’s inflation figure of 6.7% means that the prices of everyday essentials will continue to rise much faster than pre-pandemic levels. The cost of living remains extremely high, and we know that many older people on a low income are struggling, often in desperate circumstances. We have heard harrowing tales, that range from not showering daily because of high water costs, to eating dog food because it’s cheaper. This shouldn’t be happening.
“Despite today’s inflation figure meaning the State Pension will likely rise by 8.5%, the one in five single pensioners who are solely reliant on the State Pension and other benefits for their income will still struggle to pay their bills when this extra money reaches them next Spring.
“There has been a lot of debate about the State Pension triple lock, and it’s not a perfect long-term solution. However, for the millions of older people living in financial hardship, it is vital in protecting the value of their often dangerously low income, helping them cope with the elevated cost of living.
“In the short term, the government must act to ease financial pressures that are causing misery for millions of older people across the UK. We want to see the introduction of additional financial support this winter for the most vulnerable, including older people living on low incomes. Along with many other charities, we are also calling on the government to introduce an energy social tariff to provide more protection from high prices and end the postcode lottery of water social tariffs by introducing a single social tariff for water.
“To stop the annual stress and uncertainty over this issue and give long-term assurance to people of all ages, there should be a cross-party review to agree on the level of income everyone needs in later life to avoid poverty and what the UK government can do to make sure everyone receives this.”