Home Consumer debt Millions of retirees forced into debt to meet food and energy bills

Millions of retirees forced into debt to meet food and energy bills

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Millions of pensioners have been forced into debt or cut spending as the cost of living crisis rages and the state pension loses value.

The government’s controversial suspension of the ‘triple lockdown’ will mean more than 12 million pensioners will lose their purchasing power in April if it fails to keep up with inflation. Pensioners will be among the hardest hit after inflation hit a 30-year high of 5.4% last month.

Two in five pension plans said they would consider taking on debt to manage the rising cost of living. Nine million, almost half of those over 65, said they should heat their homes less, according to Age UK, the charity.

One in four people said they would have to choose between heating their home and buying food if energy bills increased significantly. Gas and electricity prices could rise by more than £700 to reach £2,000, according to Martin Young, energy analyst at Investec, an investment bank.

Retirees face some of the highest energy bills in the country as they spend a greater proportion of their income on heating their homes. The government is under increasing pressure to step in and ease the burden on households, but has yet to announce any support measures.

Caroline Abrahams of Age UK urged the government to stop ‘dragging its feet’ as the energy crisis worsens. “The rapidly rising cost of living is causing enormous anxiety among older people, putting growing numbers of people in dire financial straits,” she said.