Over-50s still feel squeezed by downturn

Kasmira Jefford
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PEOPLE aged 50 and over are continuing to suffer from a decline in their quality of life as a result of rising inflation, unemployment and a fall in savings, research by Saga reveals today.

The Saga quarterly report, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and Populus, questioned more than 10,000 people over 50 on their living standards, health, worries and happiness.

It found that whilst older Britons continued to report declines in their quality of life relative to last year, fewer are planning cutbacks in their discretionary spending – such as short breaks or going to the cinema - which could help boost the economy next year.

Despite their own economic woes this year, 33 per cent of older people are providing financial support to their children and grandchildren and around half will donate to charity this Christmas.

Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of Saga and former government pensions adviser, said: “After falling consistently throughout 2011, I hope that the first signs of stabilisation in our Quality of Life index will turn into a solid improvement in 2012.

“It is also heart-warming how much the over-50s are helping others, despite high inflation, by supporting family and charity. These really are generous generations.”

Nevertheless 61 per cent of people reported the cost of living as a greater concern than it was 12 months ago, well above health worries with a third of people over 50 anticipating that inflation will be above 6 per cent in a year’s time.

On average, they expect it to be 5.2 per cent showing that most expect their experienced price rises will be way in excess of the Bank of England’s target of two per cent over the coming year.

The report, which represents 21m people over 50, found that 19 per cent were cutting back their essential spending as a result of high inflation, with 32 per cent reporting they had cut back on heating.

Saga said that many of those in their 50s and early 60s were delaying retirement as a result of rising living cost, which may help the economy by ensuring they have higher incomes than if they were trying to live only on their pension savings.

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