By Laura Kemp • 22 September 2021 • 14:30
Figures show one in five UK women pensioners now living in poverty. CREDIT: Pixabay
New analysis from shows that in less than a decade the proportion of female pensioners in the UK living in poverty has increased by six per cent, resulting in one in five female pensioners – 1.25 million – now living below the breadline.
Despite the rise in women’s State Pension age meaning the number of female pensioners in the UK has fallen by around 800,000 since 2012-13 (from 7.1m to 6.3m), the number living in poverty has actually increased by around 260,000 (from 990,000 to 1.25 million).
Published to coincide with the launch of its new poverty report – and on the day that MPs are debating the triple lock suspension in Parliament – the figures show that the progress made in reducing pensioner poverty up to 2010 is now rapidly being reversed. Rates are once again on the rise, leaving 2.1 million pensioners (18 per cent) living in poverty and forced to make very real and difficult choices every day about how to make the most of their very low fixed income.
The report highlights that single female pensioners are at much higher risk of being in poverty than single men and pensioner couples (27 per cent compared to 23 per cent and 13 per cent respectively).
Pensioners from Black and Asian communities are around twice as likely to be living in poverty as White pensioners (33 per cent of Asian pensioners and 30 per cent of Black pensioners compared to 16 per cent of White pensioners).
Pensioners who rent their homes are also much more likely to be in poverty than those who own their home outright (38 per cent of private tenants and 36 per cent of social rented tenants compared to 14 per cent of homeowners).
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “I think many will be shocked to see how many women pensioners are now living in poverty – 1.25 million, equivalent to one in five – a big cause for concern.
“It is essential that the Government’s levelling-up agenda covers the issues facing older women. Stabilising social care and increasing both the quantity and quality of it on offer would make a big difference to many on low incomes. They are unlikely to gain from the Prime Minister’s proposed cap on catastrophic care costs because of having few if any assets to protect.
“Our new analysis also shows how vital it is that the triple lock is reactivated again in 2023. There may have been reason to suspend it for one year, because of the distortions caused by the pandemic, but if we’re to have any hope of reducing the level of pensioner poverty in our society the triple lock must come back into force again in 12 months time.”
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Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features.
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