Retired railway worker David, aged 85, says he has already started looking at cutting back on food to make ends meet ahead of rising prices. He says he is ‘deeply concerned’ about affording his bills
Image: Age UK)
A pensioner who says he is “lucky” to have £10 left in his bank account each month has described the cost of living crisis as “deeply worrying”.
Retired railway worker David, aged 85, says he has already started looking at cutting back on food to make ends meet ahead of rising prices.
His energy bill has more than doubled from £21 to £49 a month, as the Ofgem price cap shoots up 54% from April 1.
David, who lives alone in sheltered accommodation in the South Midlands, says his rent is going up 3.5% as well from next month, along with his council tax bill.
On top of that, inflation has soared to 6.5% and is expected to keep rising – meaning we’re all paying more for everyday goods and services.
Food bills are expected to cost the average family around £180 extra this year as well.
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But David told The Mirror he believes not enough is being done by the government to help elderly and disabled people.
It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Spring Statement last week, but there wasn’t any help announced for pensioners or any additional benefit increases for those who claim payments from the state.
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“I’m one of several million finding it very difficult right now,” said David.
“I’m totally despondent at the way the elderly and disabled are being treated. I am deeply concerned.
“I will try and get an appointment with Citizens Advice but they’ve got a huge waiting list where they live.
“I’m having to look to make cuts and I am going to cut back on food. I’m already having trouble with my water and heating supply. It’s a disgrace.”
Campaigners had hoped the Chancellor may have done a U-turn on only reinstating the state pension triple lock from April 2023 – but there was no mention of this coming back any sooner.
The triple lock promise guarantees that the state pension rises in line with inflation, earnings or 2.5% – whichever is higher, every April.
But, in September, the government confirmed it wouldn’t take wage growth into account due to the number of people going back into work after the coronavirus pandemic.
It would have meant pensioners received a rise of about 8% from this April but instead, there will be an increase of 3.1% in line with inflation.
Meanwhile, charities had also been calling on the Chancellor to increase benefits beyond the 3.1% rise planned for April.
David, who claims Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance, told The Mirror that the government desperately needs to raise benefit rates for those who are struggling the most.
“I think they need to look seriously at the benefits system and give us more benefits,” he said.
“They should also reduce council tax, rent and care. I think the triple lock needs to be brought back as soon as possible as well.
“It feels like robbing from the poor to pay for the rich. I’m worried about my council tax and my rent is going up 3.5%.
“I would urge the government to start having respect for all residents of the UK. I’m lucky if I have £10 and £15 left each month.”