400,000 over-70s struggling to make ends meet Rising prices and fixed incomes squeeze budgets

06 November 2011

Elderly woman looking sad or stressed

Thousands of over-70s are struggling to juggle rising food and fuel prices with a fixed income

Over 400,000 people over the age of 70 in the UK are struggling to make ends meet, according to a new report by the Financial Inclusion Centre.

Debt charity Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS), which commissioned the report, warns that the plight of older people with financial problems is particularly challenging due to social care costs and their limited ability to increase their income.

Thousands of over-70s are financially vulnerable

427,000 households in the over-70 age group were identified as ‘already in financial difficulty’, either three months behind with a debt repayment, subject to some form of debt action such as insolvency or ‘at risk’ of falling behind.

Analysis of the CCCS’s clients found that many have no money to repay their debts once they have covered the cost of their living expenses:

  • 13% of its clients aged 70 to 74 are in this situation
  • 9% of those aged 75 to 79
  • 8% of those over the age of 80 

The CCCS expects the situation to deteriorate considerably over the next year as over-70s struggle with continuing budget pressures such as inflation.

Many over-70s still have a mortgage or other debts

Commenting on the findings, CCCS director of external affairs Delroy Corinaldi said: 'Not only are money problems difficult to deal with at any age, they are particularly hard at an age when you will find it hard to increase your income. While most people would hope to have paid off their mortgage and other debts by the time they are 70, this is a distant dream for a significant number of older people.'

Which? debt expert Martyn Saville added: 'Rising food and fuel bills, coupled with fixed annuity incomes and historically low savings rates, are putting many pensioners' finances under unprecedented pressure. If you're struggling with your finances, there are places that can help. Organisations like the CCCS, National Debtline and Citizens Advice all offer free and impartial debt advice.'

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