Money Wellness
elderly couple watching the rise of food prices
category iconcost of living
calendar icon15 Mar 2024

One in five pensioners living in poverty

One in five pensioners are living in poverty across the UK, and a third of those are in very deep financial hardship, according to the State of Ageing report from Centre of Ageing Better.

 The study found:

  • Over a third of pensioners are eating less than they should
  • Three in five pensioners are showering or taking a bath less
  • 47% of pensioners are avoiding going to the dentist to keep costs down
  • 73% of pensioners are cutting down on their use of ovens and cookers
  • 14% of single pensioners are in poverty

 Dr Carole Easton, chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “The cost-of-living crisis has clearly been a very difficult time for many of our nation’s pensioners, who are being forced to cut back on even the basic essentials of life. But it is also impacting the ability of workers to save and to contribute to a pension, creating the substantial risk of even greater pensioner poverty in the near future.

“The highest poverty rate among adults in this country is now among adults aged 60 and over who are heading towards retirement, which indicates the worst may yet be to come.”

2.1 Million pensioners in poverty

 The report also found that there are 2.1 million pensioners in relative poverty, and single pensioner is £50 short of the income needed to achieve the minimum socially accepted standard of living. This amount nearly doubles to £80 for pensioners in a relationship.

Crucially, one in 10 pensioners don’t have a private or workplace pension, so millions who rely on the state pension for income are being hit hard by financial hardship.

The report comes  on the heels of the spring budget, and Easton believes the Government isn’t helping the poorest pensioners but instead making their issues worse: “We desperately needed a Budget that offered a helping hand to the very poorest pensioners, not pushing them deeper into financial trouble.

“The Government have said they want this country to be the best place to grow old in. But we currently have the worst state pension offering among OECD countries, while one million of the poorest pensioners have no private or workplace pension. Clearly, we have an awfully long way still to go.”

The Centre for Ageing Better has called for a rise in the uptake of the pension credit scheme, as well introduction of an independent commissioner for older people to make sure  policymakers are considering the needs of retirees. It’s also urged the Government to pause proposals to raise the state pension age, which is set to rise to 68 in 2026.

The pension credit deadline has passed, but it’s worth checking to see if you’re eligible for any other support if you’re struggling.


Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

Related posts

cost of living

30 May 2024

Ending schools’ free period product scheme will hurt girls from the poorest families

One in seven girls struggles to afford pads or tampons and one in two have missed school because of their period. We’re calling on the UK government to extend its free period product scheme past July 2024 so that affording menstrual care is never a barrier to education.

cost of living

28 May 2024

Could the Bank of England follow Europe’s lead on interest rates?

Find out how interest rate cuts in Europe affect your money

cost of living

23 May 2024

More Brits paying for private hospital care as NHS struggles

Long NHS waiting list mean more and more people are funding their own treatment. Find out what help is available

cost of living

22 May 2024

Households face water bills rising by up to 91%

New figures reveal that households face water bill rises of between 24% to 91% over the next five years. Find out what it means for you and how to reduce bills