Benefits freeze means pensioner poverty will rise

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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports that pensioner povery is now rising after falling steadily for two decades.

This is because of soaring rent rises and a freeze on benefits. There are now genuine fears that pensioners will be faced with choosing between buying food and paying forheating this winter.

The foundation’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: “Pensioner poverty is a problem that we thought had gone away.”

Approximately 20% of all pensioners rent their home, and the proportion is growing.

In the 1990s, pensioner poverty was much higher for single pensioners than pensioners in a couple, with the problem worse for women. In 1996/97, 42% of single female pensioners were in poverty while the high point for single male pensioner poverty was 34% in 1997/98.

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