Age UK revealed heartbreaking figures laying bare the scale of the problem in the UK
One in five women pensioners is living in poverty in the UK, research reveals today.
The proportion rises to one in three of black and Asian women OAPs, according to Age UK.
The charity says that 1.25 million female pensioners in Britain are “living below the breadline”.
While the gradual rise in women’s State Pension age means the number of female pensioners in the UK fell by around 800,000 since 2012-13 from 7.1 million to 6.3 million, the number living in relative poverty rocketed by about 260,000 from 990,000 to 1.25 million.
Living in relative poverty is defined as households with less than 60% of average household income, after housing costs.
A total of 2.1 million pensioners live in poverty, says Age UK.
The figures come as MPs today debate the Tories’ manifesto-breaking decision to suspend the pensions triple lock, which guaranteed that pensions rose by the highest of 2.5%, inflation or average earnings.
Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “I think many will be shocked to see how many women pensioners are now living in poverty – 1.25 million, equivalent to one in five; a big cause for concern.
“It’s important to recognise, too, just how much greater the risk of poverty in later life is for women who are black or Asian, compared to their white peers.
“The fact that as many as one in three are living below the breadline demonstrates a level of structural inequality in our society, linked to race, that should be a wake-up call for both national and local policymakers.
Today’s report says single, female pensioners are at much higher risk of being mired in poverty than single men and pensioner couples – 27% compared with 23% of single men and 13% of couples.
Black and Asian pensioners are twice as likely as white counterparts to be in poverty with 33% of Asian pensioners and 30% of black pensioners in poverty compared with 16% of white OAPs.
Some 38% of pensioners who rent their homes privately and 36% of those in social rented properties are in poverty, against just 14% of homeowners.
South Wales Echo)
Age UK called for the Government to “set out a clear reform programme, in partnership with third sector organisations and others, to end poverty in later life”.
Ms Abrahams added: “It is essential that the Government’s levelling-up agenda covers the issues facing older women.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “We are committed to action that helps to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty.
“Our ground-breaking pension reforms, including automatic enrolment, have helped millions more women save into a pension, many for the first time.
“Pension participation among eligible women working in the private sector has risen from 40% in 2012 to 86% in 2019.
“Last year there were 200,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty than a decade ago and we expect to spend more than £125 billion on benefits for pensioners in 2020/21.”
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