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Charity calls for better support for pensioners battling poverty

Charity calls for better support for pensioners battling poverty

Sunday 16 April 2023

Charity calls for better support for pensioners battling poverty

Sunday 16 April 2023

Pensioners are increasingly struggling to make ends meet and are receiving insufficient support from a Government "more interested in profit than people," a leading campaign group has said.

As a new report highlighted pensioners as one of the groups hit hardest by the island's growing poverty gap, Age Concern Jersey said the older generation were often forgotten about.

The report by the Jersey Community Relations Trust showed that 38% of all households in relative low income, after housing costs, were pensioner households.

Failing to address the poverty gap would risk "long-lasting damage to the economy and society", the JCRT warned.

Ben Shenton, Chairman of Age Concern, said the charity regularly witnessed pensioners experienced problems in making ends meet.

He said: “Many pensioners are surviving on a meagre income, increasing the likelihood of experiencing physical and mental health problems — this is no way for anyone to live, especially not in a ‘rich island’.

“They skip meals or replace fresh healthy foods with cheaper processed alternatives, and through necessity they will save on heating bills, living silently in cold conditions without reaching out because they don’t want to be a burden to anyone.”


Pictured: Ben Shenton, Chairman of Age Concern Jersey.

Age Concern Jersey's membership had quintupled in recent years, Mr Shenton said, leaving the charity doing “more than ever” to provide support for those who needed it.

He added: “If you are elderly, there is little you can do to increase your income so it is others, like Age Concern, to step up to the plate.

“Society often forgets their own when giving to charity and the growth in demand for our services is putting our finances under strain.

“With ageing demographics and a government seemingly more interested in profit than people, the problem will increase.”

The poverty report stated that almost one in five pensioner households lived on less than half the median income after housing costs, even with the help of income support.

Some older islanders owned property that had increased in value over many years and acted as a cushion for their finances, it added, but many did not and had limited ways of increasing their income.

Mr Shenton cited four ways in which the situation could be improved by the Government:

  • reviewing the general level of pensions and tax thresholds to ensure pensioners can survive without reverting to income support.

  • Reviewing winter fuel allowance to make it payable regardless of temperature thresholds.

  • Removing GST from food.

  • Developing policies aimed at improving the lives of an ageing demographic.

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Posted by Scott Mills on
The way the western world treats their elders is embarrassing compared to other parts of the World. People have very short memories, considering what the seniors of the World did for us. Seems once you enter "beyond taxation age" the government turns their back on you. Or worse still, if you own your own home....fall ill....right sell that (well done for all those hard years of paying of a mortgage). Look closely at society....with how it treats prisoners and seniors....for the answers.
Posted by Richard Milner of leeds on
Exempt the Jersey pension from taxation would be a good start.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Mr Shenton's four points are valid ~ however this government could not care less.
There needs to be a change of policy, scrap income support and actually pay a decent pension.
Increase the State Aid for Pensioners Doctors bills, that are now so high people do anything other than visit their GP ~ this is foolish by the States as later knowledge of any serious illness, costs the State more.
It is the typical "WAKE UP JERSEY"
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