Wendy Chamberlain says Tories have plunged older people into cost of living crisis

Today’s Express runs an article featuring Wendy Chamberlain who speaks on work and pensions for the Lib Dems.  She accuses the Conservatives of breaking their manifesto promise to protect the state pension, especially for poorer pensioners. “The Conservatives have plunged older people into the depths of a cost of living crisis.”

Their paltry support doesn’t even begin to drag them out of it, failing to cover what millions have had to endure over a cold and bitter winter.

Pensioners are among the most vulnerable people in our society.

This out of touch Government has left them out in the cold, with a hole in their pocket and even harsher days ahead.

Rishi Sunak’s energy debt package fails to recognise this and offers little consolation.

It’s high time the Government showed some common sense and ensured a fair increase to the state pension.

But we also need to see something much more ambitious to help pensioners up and down the country.

Doubling the Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Allowance, funded through a Robin Hood tax on the super-profits of oil and gas giants, would be a good place to start.

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  • Ruth Bright 10th Feb '22 - 6:54pm

    Perhaps a review of Attendance Allowance is in order – a benefit based on bizarre criteria, which misses out many older people who need help and gives money to many who do not.

  • James Fowler 10th Feb '22 - 8:00pm

    No. Pensioners are not where the cost of living focus needs to be at the moment. Their state income has been robustly protected for the last decade and has risen in real terms. All other state payments, such as those to the unemployment and disabled, have ruthlessly reduced and made relentlessly harder to claim. Earnings for the lower, and lower middle, paid have similarly fallen back with unpleasant results for working families. These are the people nearest the precipice. That is where additional state funds need to go first.

  • Brad Barrows 11th Feb '22 - 8:25am

    Some pensioners face real difficulties. Most pensioners are relatively comfortably off. Rather than focusing an a whole group that only has in common their age/stage of life, let us focus on those who need the most help whether they be pensioners or working families with children.

  • Nonconformistradical 11th Feb '22 - 9:17am

    @Brad Barrows
    “Most pensioners are relatively comfortably off.”
    Could you please provide links to the evidence to back up this assertion – thank you.

  • Brad Barrows 11th Feb '22 - 2:57pm

    Fair challenge. In 2021 the Financial Times ran a story that pensioner poverty had increased and now 1 in 5 could be defined as living in poverty. That, of course, meant that 4 in 5 were not living in poverty though, on its own, we do not know from that story how close to or far above the poverty line those pensioners may be. However, data released by ONS in 2021 indicated that 1 in 4 pensioners live in households with wealth/assets exceeding £1 Million. So there is a continuum ranging from the 20% in poverty through to around 25% living in ‘millionaire’ households (though wealth may be shared so individuals are not necessarily millionaires, individually) with the other 55% living above the poverty line but below ‘millionaire household status’. I conclude from this that the median pensioner is ‘comfortably well off’ and therefore the majority are comfortably well off’. If you are aware of data that shows the median pensioner is not comfortably well off, I will stand corrected.

  • “1 in 4 pensioners live in households with wealth/assets exceeding £1 Million.” That seems extremely unlikely: where’s the ONS report, please, Brad, as I can’t find it?
    I did find: ‘Median total wealth for individuals in Great Britain was estimated to be £125,000 between April 2018 and March 2020.’
    And: ‘The wealthiest 10% of individuals hold almost half of all wealth’.
    And: Average total wealth by age band: median 65-69 years £355,800. (It decreases after that).
    Nothing about £1million. And no regional figures based on age, so if there are a lot of paper-millionaire pensioners in affluent parts of England, nothing useful for Wales, Scotland or the north.

  • Barry Lofty 11th Feb '22 - 6:33pm

    Figures and statistics are just what they “figures and statistics” in my experience they do not reflect the real world in which many people have to live?

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