In my earlier blog today , I argue that employers and pension providers should cease jawing about extra saving and focus on making existing saving more affordable for those struggling to heat and eat.
In this blog, I ask whether the case for further help for pensioners in poverty should be made available over the next 12 months. I think there is one reason for doing so – Ukraine.
Look at this chart and ask why the OBR March forecast sees inflation peaking at 8.4% rather than 4.5%.
What happened between October 2o21 and March 2022? The answer is that Russia invaded Ukraine putting up the cost of everything from a loaf of bread to a unit of gas.
The Government’s response to this so far has been inadequate. A small amount (£150) off some council tax bills, a bridging loan of £200 off energy bills. No more in benefits, cuts in NI that don’t benefit the pensioner.
Rebecca O’Connor has summed up the situation well in her Interractive Investor press -release.
JUST £5.55 A WEEK MORE FOR STATE PENSIONERS STRUGGLING TO COPE WITH HUGE RISES IN ENERGY AND FOOD BILLS
The new level of state pension payments comes into effect today and will see the full new state pension rise to £185.15 from £179.60 a week. The basic state pension full amount has risen from £137.60 to £141.85 – a rise of 3.1%, compared with a current inflation rate of 6.2%.
That’s an extra £5.55 a week for those on the full new state pension and £4.25 a week more for those on the basic rate.
Interactive investor calculates that a retired person dependent on the new state pension could still be an estimated £893 short of what they need to cover the average rise in the cost of food, energy and fuel alone this year, while those on the basic state pension could be £971 short, after today’s rise.
And Beccy concludes:-
“If pensioners thought they were already struggling and thought things couldn’t get much worse, sadly, they probably will”
It is clear that after ten years of austerity, the poor are poorer and getting poorer still.
The Government should look at the £1.7bn it is saving because 850,000 pensioner households are not claiming pension credit and pay it to all pensioners at a minimum level with a top-up payment to those on pension credit. Those claiming pension credit for the first time would also qualify for the top-up.
A proper use of an allocated budget
The idea is no mine – it is repeating a question posed to the Pensions Minister at the top of this snip.
The take up of Pension Credit is around 70%, the £1.7 to £1.8bn range of estimates is because the Government doesn’t know how many potential claimants aren’t claiming
Perhaps John Glen and Guy Opperman can have a fruitful conversation over the next week, considering how to get the missing 30% of Pension credit claimants the money they undoubtedly need to heat their homes and eat properly?
Those of us who are able to afford a decent standard of living at this time of national and international crisis, must consider our obligations to those too old to work and too poor to live a minimum standard of living, let us not stand in your way- Ministers!