Pension rise outstripped by soaring cost of bills

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Age Scotland, the charity representing older people in Scotland, has warned the rise in state pension falls well short of meeting the soaring costs of electricity, food, fuel and everyday items affecting Arran’s large elderly population.

The 3.1 per cent rise, it says, will leave many elderly people facing difficult choices and it is calling for immediate one-off payments for pensioners to support them through the cost of living crisis, which has seen prices rise at their fastest rate in 30 years.

Adam Stachura, Age Scotland’s head of policy and communications, said: ‘The state pension increase is dwarfed by the rising costs of bills and leaves hundreds of thousands of older people in Scotland facing tough times.

‘The UK government’s decision to scrap the triple lock on pensions, which guaranteed a real cost of living increase, has made day-to-day living for many older people bleak.

‘There needs to be more one-off payments for older people on the lowest incomes as a matter of urgency to avoid a grim situation becoming worse.

‘Older people must be made aware of the benefits they are entitled to claim to help them through this challenging time. And the stigma of claiming benefits needs to be removed so that older people can get the financial support they are entitled to.

‘This cost of living crisis is forcing older people to make impossible choices, between heating their homes and food shopping. Energy and food are necessities, not privileges, and it is shocking to think of older people in Scotland today having to live in a cold home or go hungry because they can’t afford to pay escalating bills.

‘We would urge any older person who is struggling to cope to call our helpline on 0800 12 44 222 where our advisers can offer advice, information and support.’