26 Sep 2023 | Posted In Money advice news

Independent Age, the charity tackling the hidden reality of poverty in later life, has published a report on the impact of high household costs on older people facing financial hardship.

The report shares the often-hidden experiences of how pensioners facing financial hardship are being impacted by increasingly high household costs, across water, energy, broadband, and Council Tax. Yet many know nothing about the financial support they could be entitled to from their utility companies or local authority, and their health and lives are suffering as a result.

Building on these findings, Independent Age recommends that:

  1. National and local governments and utility providers should more proactively promote social tariffs and other support targeting areas of deprivation and all eligible groups, including older people who receive Pension Credit.
  2. All broadband providers, supported by network providers, across the UK should offer tariffs designed to support those on a low income, including by having Pension Credit in their eligibility criteria.
  3. The UK Government should remove VAT on broadband social tariffs
  4. The UK Government should stop the postcode lottery of water social tariffs by creating a single social tariff for water.
  5. Central government and local authorities should work together to create more automated processes so that everyone over pension age who is entitled to Council Tax Reduction, including those receiving Guarantee Pension Credit, gets it.
  6. The UK Government should introduce an energy social tariff to provide a long-term solution that protects those who are vulnerable, including older people on a low-to-modest income.
  7. To support the most vulnerable through the winter of 2023/24, the UK Government should introduce additional financial support for those in greatest need, including older people on a low income, to reduce the impact of high energy prices.

Joanna Elson, former Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust recently became CEO of Independent Age and Independent Age’s Head of Policy & Influencing Morgan Vine will be speaking at the MALG Conference 2023.

Read the full report here.