Elderly Among EU’s Worst Off

An article by Jaymi McCann of the Sunday Express reveals Britain’s pensioners are among the poorest  in the EU, with a greater risk of poverty than those in Poland or Latvia.

Despite the UK being the second richest country in Europe, a new report says 15 states do better when it comes to pensioner poverty.

A failing state pension system and low employment in later life has left 1.7 million below the poverty line.

The International Longevity Centre report due out next week shows 16.1 percent of British pensioners live in relative poverty compared with 15.4 percent in Romania and 13.9 percent in Latvia.

The elderly also fare better in Germany, Austria, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Ireland, France, Norway, Slovakia, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Netherlands.

About 1.5 million over-50’s have lost their jobs since 2006 due to redundancy, ill health or forced early retirement, according to the Prince of Wale’s Initiative for Mature Enterprises.

The ILC said “The state pension is being squeezed and it is difficult for people to keep saving when earnings are not rising but costs are increasing.” Its report says the state pension is now just 31.9 percent of average pay in Britain. Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said “Many pensioners live on very low, fixed incomes and have been walking a tightrope in recent years as food and utility bills have escalated.

“The government must do more to get vital money benefits to those who need extra support.”

Pensions expert Ros Altmann said “The UK has one of the lowest state pension in the developed world . We rely heavily on private pensions but those who don’t have the chance to save are living in poverty.”

The Department of Work and Pensions says it is switching to a more effective single-tier system next year, while the “Triple Lock” introduced by the coalition will ensure the state pension increases each year by inflation, wages or 2.5 percent, whichever is greater.


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