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Pensioners’ income has risen to meet workers’

15th July 2016

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Research reveals that pensioners’ income has been steadily rising in recent years and is now almost equivalent to that of workers.

Of course, retirement is not without its costs. Many of us may decide to treat the grandchildren and some will finally take that once-in-a-lifetime holiday or we could choose to invest in a stair lift to make moving around the home more comfortable as we get older. Now, with the news that the average income for pensioners in the UK has increased to £257 per week, are we truly experiencing our ‘golden years’?

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions demonstrate how in 2014/15 pensioners’ income has risen to meet that of those currently of working age in the UK. The median income was just seven per cent lower than the working population, a staggering decrease from 38 per cent a decade ago. One source responsible for this rise in prosperity is reported to be the improved rate of state pension that retirees now receive. State pensions have increased from an average of £133 per week in 2004/5 to £161 a week.

Furthermore, the data reveals how younger pensioners are better off than their older counterparts, with those under the age of 75 enjoying an average weekly income of £348, compared to the £257 received by those aged 75 and over. The Department for Work and Pensions implies that this trend is to be expected given that younger pensioners are more likely to continue working past the age of 65.

Just over ten years ago, only seven per cent of over-65s remained in the workplace, while the figure has nearly doubled to 13 per cent since 1994. Data also shows that many under the age of 75 receive nearly a quarter of their total income from employed earnings.

It hasn’t yet been determined whether pensioners are choosing to continue work because they want to or because they need to in order to support themselves. Head of retirement policy at the financial services group Hargreaves Lansdown, Tom McPhail explains: “Today’s pensioners have worked hard for their prosperity and there are still areas of inequality, both regionally and in terms of age, with older pensioners having lower incomes.”

While pensioners’ income has risen, after taxes and housing costs are deducted, older people are left with an average weekly income of £297. This may well be enough to get by on, but factor in the costs of medical help, assistive equipment and any additional care a person may need in the home, and this budget doesn’t offer much flexibility for those in their later years. Those who receive further income from private sources could be better off, but for many older people who rely on the state pension as a primary source of income, the rise in income is unlikely to register in their day-to-day outgoings.