A new report by Charity Age UK estimates that two million older people will not be able to pay for basics such as food, lighting and heating over the next 12 months
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Hard-up pensioners are surviving on biscuits and staying in bed all day to save money amid soaring energy price rises, a shock report revealed.
Charity Age UK paints a grim picture of life for the older generation with those on the lowest incomes blowing a fifth of it on gas and electricity bills as a result of April’s energy price cap hike.
It estimates that two million older people will not be able to pay for basics such as food, lighting and heating over the next 12 months.
Age UK’s It Doesn’t Add Up report found many are now only leaving home for health appointments and have cut back on seeing grandchildren, family and friends to save cash.
They are getting by on one meal a day, cutting their own hair and bathing once a fortnight to keep household bills down.
One pensioner couple told the charity “sometimes dinner is just biscuits”.
An elderly man living on a state pension said: “I feel anxious and depressed. I only shower once a fortnight and use the oven once a week. I don’t know what else I can do to meet the bills.”
And one woman in her seventies Age UK said it was like turning the clock back to the war years adding: “I have turned heat off altogether. Eat just one meal daily. Not complaining as I have learned in childhood to wear extra layers, cook and eat as my mum taught us in war years.
“For entertainment I now visit the park and listen to the radio. I cope, but how dreadful that we have gone so far back in living standards in modern Britain.”
Age UK said its findings came before regulator Ofgem’s warning on Tuesday that the energy price cap is on course to soar by another £800 to £2,800 in October.
It is now calling on the Government to increase benefits and the state pension in line with inflation to help those on low incomes.
And it is also demanding a one-off payment of £500 for those on the lowest incomes to lessen the blow of sky high energy price rises.
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Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK said: “Talking to older people who rely on their state pension certainly brings home just how serious the situation is for them.
“It comes to something when you hear a woman in her seventies describe how she is adopting strategies learned from her own parents’ experience during World War Two, to stay solvent in 2022.
“Older people aren’t stupid and they realize that if they are struggling to keep their heads above water as things stand, the chances are they’ll slip under altogether in a few months’ time.
“This makes it a horrible time for them, as they see their modest expectation of living decently in retirement slipping out of reach, certainly temporarily, possibly forever.
“The Government must act quickly and decisively so pensioners on low and modest incomes can weather this storm.”