Independent Age response to the Budget 2014
Independent Age Chief Executive, Janet Morrison, said:
“Tomorrow’s headlines will talk of a windfall for pensioners and savers. Certainly today’s Budget statement represents a very welcome surprise for better-off pensioners, who have been waiting for years to see measures to help boost their income in retirement.
"We applaud the decision to allow greater freedom and choice so people can access their pensions more flexibly, and provide them with financial advice about their investments. We also support the announced pension saving bonds and voluntary national insurance contributions, which represent bold moves to boost incomes at a challenging time for savers and people reaching state pension age.
"But today’s measures will give little or no comfort to the poorest half of pensioners, who have pensions pots averaging £4,000. Concern will particularly be felt by the millions of pensioners who rely on Attendance Allowance, Housing Benefit, Pension Credit, PIP and the Winter Fuel Payment – all of which will be included in the announced cap on welfare spending. In the future, this risks setting pensioners against the unemployed and the disabled to determine who gets what in a shrinking welfare state.
"There will also be worries from those pensioners who rely on social care, mentioned just once in the 121-page Budget book. 100,000 fewer older people are receiving home care and the number of over-90s being driven to A&E has grown by a massive 80 per cent in the past three years. The failure to address this spending gap can only mean a continuing decline in services.”