Recently released HM Revenue & Customs data revealed that there were about 1,000 old men and women living in the City of London, which includes the Barbican Estate, who receive a total pension income averaging £37,900 a year and means that it tops Britain's table for pension income.
Yet a mere eight miles away is the area with Britain's second-lowest pension income where, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, the mean average pension income that old people have to manage on is £12,800. The only part of the country with a lower figure was Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire where the mean average is just £12,300.
In addition, the second, third and seventh spots in the table of the highest-income areas were also taken by London boroughs : Westminster where pensioners have an average of £29,500 p.a,, Kensington and Chelsea, £26,700 and Camden, £24,000.
The insurer, 'Royal London' said the figures : “highlight shocking disparities in pension incomes even within the same region” where “very prosperous pensioners” are living only a few miles down the road from those who are struggling on much more modest incomes.
In the other nations of Britain the disparities, while there, are less stark : In Scotland, mean pension incomes range from £20,000 in Stirling to £13,900 in North Lanarkshire and in Wales they range from £18,700 in the Vale of Glamorgan to £13,900 in Caerphilly.
* * * * *Charles Booth, the great Victorian social reformer published his colour coded map of the East End of London 129 years ago, in 1889, and it revealed that Old Nichol, a slum in the East End of London stood cheek-by-jowl next the the wealthier district of Shoreditch to the west.
There were no pensions at that time. If poor old men, who made it into old age, could not be looked after by their family, there was no alternative but the workhouse. One hundred and twenty-nine years later, the modern day counterparts of the old men in the photo living in Dagenham now have an 'average' of £12,300 a year to live on, which means, of course, that many have less than this.
Victorian Britain : very much a country for rich old men and very much not one for the poor ones down the road.
Twenty-first century Britain : very much a country for rich old men and not much of one for the poor ones down the road.