Pensioners `facing harsher life'

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The Independent Online
Millions of older people do not have enough money for basic necessities, the charity Age Concern England said yesterday. They face increasing financial hardship because of the low state pension, inadequate benefits and the "poverty trap".

A study by the charity, drawing on official statistics as well as the experiences of pensioners and Age Concern groups, showed that half of pensioner households depend on pensions and benefits for at least 75 per cent of their income, while two-thirds ofpensioners have incomes so low that they pay no income tax.

The charity is calling in its "Short Change" campaign for protection of the state pension as the `cornerstone of retirement' with an increase to 33 per cent of average earnings for a single pensioner and 50 per cent for a couple It also seeks eliminationof the "poverty trap" so modest savings or a small private pension do not preclude the claiming of benefits.