This is a time of great peril for those of us who are over 50 or even more over 66 and facing poverty. The deep inequality which riddles the UK is particularly harsh for we seniors. While up to 25% of pensioner households are reported to have wealth of over £1 million, over 50% of pensioners live on less than the income tax threshold (£12500 per year). This means that millions are now facing genuine hardship, with Eat or Heat being a Hobson’s choice. With Universal Credit and State pension both likely to not be increased by the rate of inflation which is now rampant, over 10% and for poorer households up to 15%, life this winter and next year will be really, really hard. Yet the media and certain politicians keep banging on about how rich certain pensioners are to try to inflame public opinion against the necessity of poorer pensioners to get the compensatory increase they urgently need.
Likewise for older working age people (over 50) including the 1.2 million pensioners still working. There are millions of workless older people desperate to get a job but face ingrained ageism among employers and especially the recruitment sector which limits their ability to find work. This means that for many they are reliant on Universal Credit , other benefits or living off savings or their families and facing penury, depression and ill health. Yet the media go on bout the great retirement which affects a smaller minority than those who want and need to work.
In the face of this Wise Age is running a campaign to help older workers in London find jobs while promoting the benefits of older workers to employers – many of whom are facing labour shortages.
I am also happy that Positive Ageing in London are organising a conference on how to address pensioner poverty on 18 November at Westminster City Hall which can be booked on Eventbrite by clicking on this link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pail-conference-on-pensioner-poverty-tickets-445133063977
Chris Walsh, Wise Age CEO