New official statistics show that, in 2012/13, average gross incomes of pensioner couples and singles grew to £477 – an above inflation rise – with state benefits accounting for 44% of the total.
The government’s State Pension triple lock ensures that pensioner incomes are now protected against inflation – increasing each year by whichever is the highest out of prices, average earnings or 2.5%.
Last year this meant that the Basic State Pension increased by 5.2% and Pension Credit by 3.9%, compared with the 3.1% increase in Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation.
The Pensioners’ Incomes Series for 2012/13 also reveals that, over the past 14 years, average net incomes for pensioners after housing costs have been taken into account grew by 37% in real terms. Contributing to this rise is a greater number of pensioners choosing to remain in work, with earnings among this age group growing by 62%.
Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said:
I am proud of our work to protect pensioners, the success of which is borne out in these figures.
The triple lock has marked a profound shift in how the state supports pensioners and it means that 12.7 million people will be over £400 a year better off by the end of this Parliament.
Alongside the guarantee of a strong State Pension, we are also seeing more older people choose to phase their retirement in a way which suits them. This government’s historic decision to end the discrimination of the mandatory retirement age has made that possible for thousands of people.
Figures released today show:
- benefit income, which includes the State Pension, has increased by 27% since 1998/99
- in 2012/13 state benefits accounted for 44% of pensioners’ incomes, occupational pensions made up 27%, earnings 17%, investment income 7%, and personal pensions 4%
- since 1998/99, the fastest growing sources of income are earnings, which has increased by 62% in this time, and personal pension income, which has increased by over 250%
- 28% of pensioner units (single pensioners or couples) received at least one income-related benefit in 2012/13, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit
- 22% of pensioner units were in receipt of disability benefits – pensioner couples received an average £88 a week from disability benefits in 2012/13 compared with £69 for single pensioners
The triple lock builds on the government’s ongoing protection of key benefits for older people including:
- free eye tests
- free NHS prescriptions
- free bus passes
- free television licences for those aged 75 and over
- Winter Fuel Payments
Cold Weather Payments were permanently increased from £8.50 to £25 in 2010.
Read The Pensioners’ Incomes Series United Kingdom, 2012/13
Between 2011/12 and 2012/13, gross mean income grew from £475 to £477. Net mean income before housing costs grew from £395 to £397 and net mean income after housing costs grew from £363 to £364.
Mean net income after housing costs has risen faster than before housing costs. After deducting housing costs, mean net income has grown by 37% since 1998/99 compared with 32% before housing costs.
Pensioners’ mean net income has grown faster than incomes for the whole population over the last 14 years.
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