Pension campaign calls for £500 emergency fund for pensioners as some can’t afford heating

Sturgeon says the removal of the triple lock is 'disgraceful'

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The temporary suspension of the state pension triple lock means pensioners will receive an increase of just 3.1 percent to their weekly income, compared to the more than eight percent they were originally expecting. With inflation rising to staggering levels, Dennis Reed, Director of Silver Voices, spoke exclusively to to share his concerns.

Mr Reed had previously feared the rate of inflation to be more than six percent by April 2022, but the Bank of England has since predicted inflation could be above seven percent by the time the state pension increase kicks in.

He said: “Obviously, the situation is even worse now.”

“It looks like 7.5 percent on the first of April and the measly 3.1 percent increase which pensioners will now get just doesn’t scratch the surface of rising prices, particularly energy and food prices.

“Every single person who depends on the state pension, and that is millions of people, is going to suffer a very significant cut in living standards as from the first of April.

He described the situation “extremely, extremely worrying”.

Mr Reed detailed some of the measures pensioners are having to take in order to pay the bills, including turning their heating off altogether.

He continued: “I’m getting loads of emails from our members expressing their desperation at the current situation, let alone the price increases which are going to come.

“Even now, they are in desperation and they’re turning the heating off. Some of them are turning it off completely and only using energy for things like cooking and hot water. They just can’t afford it.

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“We’re angry for our members. It’s not a political argument, it’s a question about whether they heat their homes or not.”

Silver Voices is calling for a £500 emergency payment to be made to all state pensioners in light of the current issues with the cost of living.

Of the £500 emergency fund suggestion, Mr Reed said: “That is very modest given the scale of the crisis. Some of our members are coming back to me tongue in cheek saying ‘have you missed a nought off this? Shouldn’t it be £5,000?’.”

However, the group is also pushing for the triple lock to be reinstated to help pensioners cope with their rising bills.

Mr Reed said: “The triple lock is needed as a vital safeguard for pensioners, which is what is intended to be, to safeguard against these sorts of bumps in the economy.

“If it had been agreed as normal, then an eight percent increase would have just about matched the level of inflation.

“They suspended the triple lock despite knowing that (high inflation) was coming down the line, and that is really selling older people out.

“We’re still hoping that with sufficient pressure that the Government will recognise either that they should restore the triple lock from the first of April, because of the particular circumstances we’re now with the economy or to do one of the measures we’re suggesting.”

The new full state pension is currently worth a maximum of £179.60 per week, while the full basic state pension is valued at £137.60 at its highest level.

This provides pensioners with a yearly income of £9,339.20 or £7,155.20 depending on the type of pension they receive.

If the 3.1 percent increase goes ahead as planned, the rates will increase to £185.15 and £141.85 respectively.

This means pensioners could get a maximum of £288.60 in additional state pension income for the 2022/23 tax year.

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