Older people living on benefits struggle to pay for basic
necessities and cut back on food when times are hard, a new report
Hard Times, a study of 50 over 70s living on benefits,
shows that they view food as a flexible commodity, buying less in
order to pay bills or buy presents for their grandchildren. Many
spend less than £4 a day on food with one respondent spending
The report, by the Centre for Policy on Ageing for Nestle Family
Monitor, reveals that some older people who have incomes just above
subsistence level are trapped in poverty because they fail to
qualify for some benefits.
Over a third of the respondents received a small occupational
pension but, as they did not qualify for full benefits such as
council tax and housing benefit, were left with less disposable
income than those qualifying for minimum income guarantee.
The study shows that low income limits social activity and
interaction. Community groups were the main sources of contact,
offering lunches, activities and outings. Poor health and fear of
crime also restricted social activity.
The report suggests raising the state retirement pension, to
help those in the poverty trap and also overcome the problem of
people who are deterred from claiming benefit, as it would be given
as a right.
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