Socialist Worker

Pensioner poverty scandal

Issue No. 1981

One in five pensioners lives on an income of less than £5,000 a year, and the same number say thinking about money makes them feel anxious or depressed, according to research published last week.

Some 17 percent were on less than £5,000, 27 percent had an income of between £5,000 and £10,000, while 13 percent received between £10,000 and £15,000. Only 4 percent said they had an income of more than £25,000.

Money worries are so great for 2 percent of pensioners that they say they have at times felt suicidal.

Commenting on the survey, Joe Harris, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said, “It is absolutely shocking that thousands of pensioners feel they have no other option but to contemplate suicide because of the state of their finances.

“At least 2.2 million older people live below the official poverty line and the vast majority of those are women.

“Next April the state pension will rise from the present £82.05 by just £2.20 a week at a time when fuel and council tax bills are rising sharply. It’s no wonder older people can’t see the point of going on.”

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Sat 17 Dec 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1981
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