Independent Age has released a new report titled: Poverty in later life - How people in older age move in and out of poverty, and what should be done to reduce it
After historic falls in the 00s, poverty in later life is once again on the rise, at its highest rate since 2008 and steadily rising since 2012. This report summarises the results of commissioned research on income dynamics by City, University of London which analysed data from a survey that tracked the financial status of people at State Pension age and above across nearly a decade between 2010 and 2019. The report takes these findings and puts it in the wider context of poverty in later life. It ends with calls on decision makers to take specific and necessary action to combat poverty in later life.
This report is part of our wider work on poverty in later life. It also links to our Credit Where It’s Due campaign, highlighting the low-uptake of the vital benefit Pension Credit. You can find more information on our campaign here.
You can download the report below
•Poverty in later life is a growing problem in the UK.
•There are stark inequalities in later life that greatly increase the chances of
entering poverty past retirement age for some groups, including private and
social renters, black and Asian older people, and single women.
•Though older people’s income fluctuates less than in younger groups, there is
still movement in and out of poverty, with 40% of pensioners spending at least
one year in poverty in a nine-year period.
•Changes in social benefit income are the biggest single cause for older people
entering and exiting poverty.
•Tackling poverty in later life requires an ambitious strategy to tackle poverty
at all ages, while maximising the effectiveness of existing programmes.
The government must fulfil its commitment to restore the State Pension triple
lock from April 2023.
The DWP should conduct a wider review of the adequacy of the State Pension,
with the government setting out at what level it wants the State Pension to be
valued relative to average earnings.
The government should commit to protecting vital benefits for older people
that are currently under threat, including by reversing its proposal to scrap free
prescriptions for 60–65-year-olds.
The DWP must release a written action plan to increase the uptake of Pension
Credit. This action plan must include realistic measurable targets and scheduled
and continuous awareness-raising activity, as well as explore more fundamental
solutions such as a name change and full or partial auto-enrolment.
The government should pilot an auto-appointment system for the Pension
The government must keep its promise to introduce the Renters Reform Bill in
this parliament. This Bill must include commitments to scrap Section 21 ‘no fault’
evictions, and to introduce secure and standardised ‘lifelong deposits’, which can
be transferred from tenancy to tenancy without having to be repaid every time.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities should build
on the Renters Reform Bill by publishing a Green Paper on affordable, secure
tenancies. This should include consultation on the popular and effective
local rent controls in place in countries like Germany, and longer tenancy
The government should take up the recommendations made by the Good
Home Inquiry, set up by the Centre for Ageing Better and chaired by David Orr.20
This includes a new national strategy to improve England’s existing housing
stock led by a ministerial Good Home Champion, as well as a fully funded
Good Home Agency to facilitate home improvements for both homeowners
and landlords, and administer the Disabled Facilities Grant.
The role of an Older People’s Commissioner should be established in both
England and Scotland, with associated legal powers to hold the government
and other organisations to account.
The DWP should expedite its work on developing a new measure of poverty,
which was scheduled to be introduced in 2020. This work must build on
the developments made by the Social Metrics Commission and the Joseph
Rowntree Foundation, and must be accompanied by a firm commitment
and action from the government to tackle poverty at all life stages.
The DWP must develop a meaningful strategy to address poverty in the UK,
including those who experience poverty in later life.