MPs call for financial advice to end pensioner poverty

| August 3, 2009 | 0 Comments
MPs call for financial advice to end pensioner poverty

Better financial advice could help keep more people out of poverty during retirement, the Government’s Pensions Commission claimed this week.

The Work and Pensions Committee said it is “unacceptable” that two million pensioners still live in poverty, and called on the government to commit to ending pensioner poverty.

Giving pensioners access to better financial advice “could have a considerable impact on the lives of individual pensioners and would impact on pensioner poverty overall,” the cross-party committee said.

“Pensioners and people planning for their retirement need far more advice,” said Terry Rooney, committee chairman.

“Everything from how much they need to save, life styling, annuities, and how to change their electricity supplier.

“The Government’s new ‘one-stop shop’ could do this, if it is done well.”

The committee added that making pension benefits clearer would also help to tackle pensioner poverty, as 1.7 million older people currently fail to claim benefits to which they are entitled.

Other proposals included scrapping the compulsory retirement age of 65.

Compulsory retirement is “bad for society, bad for older people, and bad for the economy,” the committee said.

“While no pensioner should be expected to work after 65, many would like to.” it added.

“The Government has done a lot to help pensioners, but there is a lot still to do,” concluded Rooney.

“The Government needs to develop new and innovative programmes to lift pensioners out of poverty.”

Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners’ Convention, criticised the committee’s recommendations as “more of the same”.

“A simple and logical solution to lift pensioners out of poverty would be to bring in a living state pension,” Gibson said.

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