Cost of Living Campaign - Pensions up... but bills even higher

By Nigel Booth
Monday, 2nd May 2022, 8:31 am
Higher energy bills are stretching many family budgets to the limit (photo: adobe)
Higher energy bills are stretching many family budgets to the limit (photo: adobe)

Our Cost of Living Campaign - Price Watch highlights the impact of price hikes on our readers.

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April 11 saw a rise in the state pension of 3.1 per cent take effect for millions of pensioners.

But this rise is blindsided by the further increase in living costs that they are about to face.

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    Higher energy bills are stretching many family budgets to the limit (photo: adobe)

    A recent survey of 2000 adults revealed that 56 per cent feel that they cannot live comfortably with the cost of living increase.

    Pension Deficit

    The increase for those receiving a full new state pension, from £179.60 a week to £185.15 a week over a year, equates to a rise from £9,339 to £9,628, or £289 a year more.

    For those receiving a full basic state pension, the rise from £137.60 a week to £141.85 is an increase from £7,155 to £7,376, or an extra £211 a year.

    The average energy bill rise this year is expected to hit £693 – more than three times the increase in the basic state pension and 2.4 times the rise in the new state pension.

    These pointers compiled by equity release experts Sovereign Boss are designed to help to make life a little easier for anyone struggling with unmanageable costs:

    Take advantage of all benefits available such as https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-homediscount-scheme warm homes discount.

    Check eligibility for Pension Credit if you are a low-income pensioner. You may be entitled to for a number of reasons, such as not receiving a full state pension.

    Take advantage of discounts at local shops and venues that aim to help older people. Leisure centres offer discounts for the over 60s and Boots offers special rewards for over 60s with Advantage cards, among many others.

    Get involved in the sharing economy to avoid having to buy new things. Apps like NextDoor and local Facebook groups allow you to post requests to borrow items you need to use but you don’t own.

    The following tips are for others concerned about older relatives, friends and neighbours:

    If you are concerned about older people locally who you think may be struggling, offer to do their shopping for them or help with other errands that require a car journey so they can save on petrol costs.

    Let them know about any offers or discounts you have spotted locally that they might be able to use.

    Direct them to charities such as Age UK if you think they might be struggling to keep on top of outgoings and could benefit from some independent help.

    StepChange can help older people who are in debt.