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COST OF LIVING 2: PENSIONERS THE BIGGEST LOSERS

11-06-2008

Pensioner

The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) indicate a rise of 300,000 pensioners living in poverty in 2006/7, 3 times higher than predicted. What an indictment on our society. We have some of the lowest pensions in Europe, and, from my own professional experience in community development, I often see the sharp end of pensioner poverty.

Here in Birmingham, we have too many pensioners living in isolation; struggling to survive on a limited income, with prices rocketing around them.

Their cars have gone, so transport and mobility are key issues; many live in fear, locking themselves away as soon as daylight fades; they cannot afford to socialise (cost, transports, perception, fear); rising costs of social care & diminishing services add pressures to the already hard-pressed.

At a time in life when they need the most help, they find there is precious little available.

Traditionally, there has long been a history of voluntary sector community support, organising trips, outings, hospital visits, befrienders etc.

Yet, due to withdrawal of funding, (Olympics 2012 springs to mind) local support groups have been hammered, as projects simply close down. So, the biggest losers continue to be the elderly – who are also the least able to cope.

As a matter of utmost urgency the government must consider the impact of all these rises on the older population.

It is also essential we invest in front-line community development, targeting services for the elderly, as an immediate practical solution. The onset of winter might well be too late for many.

DO YOU THINK PENSIONERS ARE HARD DONE BY? COULD OR EVEN SHOULD, THE GOVERNMENT DO MORE. GIVE US YOUR OPINION ON THE MESSAGE BOARD

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