Thursday 22 September 2011

Britain, already no country for today's old men, will become even less of one for tomorrow's

An article in 'The Daily Mail' yesterday was entitled :

A quarter of over-55s have to survive on £24 a day: Spending on food is cut as millions struggle to pay bills

It was based on a report from the insurance giant 'Aviva', itself based on one of the largest and most important surveys of 'over-55s' in Britain, where more than 10,300 were asked questions about their finances ranging from the size of their mortgage to whether or not they had a pension ?

It found :

* that 23% of over-55's have to survive on a post-tax income of £750 or less each month, equal to about £24 a day and out of this, had to pay all their bills, from council tax and energy to mortgage and were cutting spending on food in a desperate attempt to save money.

* there was clear evidence of old people ‘cutting discretionary food spending and opting for cheaper options’ and using discount shops or cheaper supermarkets and boycotting more expensive options such as organic food.

* many had threadbare personal finances with one in six having no savings and will either have to work until they drop because they cannot afford to retire, or rely on modest State benefits if they stop working.

* around 7% of over-75s still have a mortgage, with the average size a ‘worrying’ £46,873.

Clive Bolton, a director of Aviva, said that the situation is made worse by rising inflation, which cripples pensioners more than any other age group because, although they are living on a fixed income, their bills are rising rapidly, particularly for energy.

Saga, the old age specialists, said that its research found that more than 60% of those over the age of 50 say their lifestyle has ‘crashed’ in the course of the past year and have made cutbacks ranging from using their car less and buying fewer clothes, to cancelling holidays and never eating out or going to the cinema.

Simon Rose, from the campaign group, 'Save our Savers', said:
‘No matter how bad the climate for savings, people need to get into the savings habit. Unless you save for a large part of your working life, you are going to face an unhappy and impoverished old age.’

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