Rosie Cooper MP has pledged to help tackle rising levels of pensioner poverty after the charity Independent Age found that almost a fifth of pensioners across the UK now live in poverty.
Independent Age says these rising figures could be drastically reduced if people receive the financial support they are entitled to via Pension Credit – extra money designed to help with living costs for people over State Pension age and on a low income. However, Pension Credit has the worst uptake of all income-related benefits and has not written above 64% for almost a decade.
Rosie Cooper MP said,
“The dramatic rise in pensioner poverty over the last decade requires urgent attention from the government.
“Living in poverty can impact on every area of a person’s life – nobody should have to face impossible decisions on whether to heat their home or buy enough food to eat.
“That’s why I’m supporting Independent Age’s call for the government to urgently come up with an action plan on Pension Credit. I have also signed a cross-party letter to the Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman MP, highlighting the issue and demanding action.”
As well as topping up income, Pension Credit also acts as a gateway to other forms of support, including Housing Benefit, a free TV licence for the over-75s, free NHS prescriptions, council tax support and more. Combined, this could be worth thousands of pounds a year.
Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said,
“Thank you to Rosie Cooper MP for supporting our Credit Where It’s Due campaign.
“For too long, levels of pensioner poverty have been creeping back up and this ticking timebomb cannot be ignored.
“The government statistics are clear: in 2019, up to £1.8 billion earmarked for Pension Credit did not reach those who needed it. The government must urgently come up with a plan to increase the level of Pension Credit uptake.”