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State pensioners could be left with just over £10 a day after energy price cap hike

The Independent logo The Independent 29/08/2022 Arpan Rai
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Pensioners in the country relying on state payment may be left with a little over £10 to spend in a day on food, transport, medicines, and other living costs from next April in the wake of rising cost of energy, according to reports.

A Sky News analysis found the full state pension is likely to spike to £10,600 from April 2023, provided inflation is fixed at 10.1 per cent next month when the pension rates are fixed for 2023-24.

However, the usual costs of energy bills will touch £6,616 in April, according to a prediction by consultancy group Cornwall Insight.

This will lead to gas and electricity costs of about 62 per cent of the state pension money, due to which senior citizens will be left with just £10.92 in a day to spend on their food, medicines, transport, and other essential living costs.

Charity groups across the country have raised an alarm over the steep rise in living costs for the senior citizens as a result of increase in state costs, leaving the older people with not enough money.

“Millions of pensioners will now be coming to terms with the reality of what it means for them: the prospect of trying somehow to get through the autumn and winter with prices soaring and yet with very little flex in their fixed incomes,” said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK.

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She added that the coming times are a “truly frightening prospect and one that most could not have prepared for, and never expected to face at this point in their lives.”

Professor Stefan Bouzarovski, working with the university of Manchester and an expert in energy poverty, said the latest increase to the energy price cap will have catastrophic implications not just for those already in fuel poverty, but for those categorised as “energy vulnerable”.

London-based Centre for Ageing Better said that a majority of older people are already cutting back on gas and electricity use in their homes, more than any other age group — 59 per cent for 65-74 year olds as opposed to 47 per cent in 25-34 year olds age group.

Households in the UK with older occupants spend around twice as much on energy as younger households and were twice as likely to be living in draughty homes, the charity group said.

It added that a couple over 60 living in a home with the lowest EPC rating (G) can expect their average bill to almost double under the new energy price cap from £4771 to £8671, data from E3G analysis of English Housing Survey including modelled impact of price caps showed.

The UK pays full “new” state pension to people who have hit the retirement age starting April 2016.

Those who reach the retirement age before then are paid a basic state pension, which is topped up based on lifetime National Insurance contributions.

Charity groups are pressing for immediate action from the upcoming prime minister to act on the rising energy costs compounded by inflation as their first task.

“The new Prime Minister must make their first act providing additional support for the millions of households in our country whose rising inflation is set to overwhelm, among them many pensioners,” Age UK’s Ms Abrahams said.

She added: “Every day older people are telling us how scared they are; they need urgent reassurance from the government that they will not abandon them.”

However, the prime ministerial faces Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in the leadership race have not commented comprehensively on their plans to bring down the cost of energy bills.

Ms Truss said she will “bung more money” at those facing crisis of spiking energy costs while Mr Sunak millions may be forced into destitution if not given any extra support by the administration.

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