Hard up West Yorkshire pensioners ‘cut back on food’

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ONE third of West Yorkshire pensioners are scrimping on their weekly grocery shop because of money worries, an alarming survey has revealed.

A poll by Age UK found 31 per cent of elderly respondents said they are buying cheaper or less food.

One fifth, meanwhile, said they cut back on their heating during the winter months to make ends meet.

And 20 per cent of those surveyed also said they are going out less in order to save cash.

The charity today warned that rising living costs are causing significant hardship for pensioners, with nearly half saying they are just “getting by”.

Despite inflation falling slightly, the Retail Price Index is still at 5.3 per cent with food and fuel rising rapidly.

Pensioners will only see the basic state pension increase by 4.5 per cent this year and other benefits by just 3.1 per cent.

Age UK and Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves are launching the “more money in your pocket” campaign to encourage older people to claim all the benefits they are eligible for.

The Labour government introduced pension credit to try and boost incomes. Yet around a third of people who are eligible to claim the top up aren’t getting it, with up to £3 billion unclaimed. A campaign in Leeds last year to raise awareness about benefits increased the amount claimed by elderly people in the city by £225,000.

Ms Reeves, Labour’s shadow pensions minister, said: “Older people in our society are facing some really tough times with rising prices, the VAT increase and low savings rates, so it’s vital that everyone gets what they’re entitled to.”

A spokesman for Age UK Leeds said: “At a time when so many people are struggling financially, it is unacceptable that vital benefits are failing to reach some of the poorest and most vulnerable older people in our society.”

Ms Reeves will on Monday visit pensioners at the Armley Helping Hands coffee morning and the Bramley Elderly Action Luncheon Club in Bramley Community Centre.

Age UK questioned 1,200 over 65s across Yorkshire and Humber.

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