Pensioners cut back on food to pay bills

Older people living on benefits struggle to
pay for basic necessities and cut back on food when times are hard,
a new report reveals.

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 just £2.56.

report, by the Centre for Policy on Ageing for Nestl‚ 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.

one-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, they were left with less disposable income
than those qualifying for the minimum income guarantee.

study shows that low income limits social activity and interaction,
as does poor health and fear of crime.

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 a given

Hard Times is available from Central Books on 020 8986
5488 priced £15 plus postage.

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