Pensioners ‘Heat or Eat’ during cold weather: The Raising Price of Living.

June 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I was quite shocked to hear the headline ‘Heat or Eat’ on a feature article during BBC Breakfast this morning. As I didn’t have time to catch the feature in full I was quick to Google the article when I arrived in the office this morning.

‘Poorest pensioners face ‘heat or eat’ concern’ on the BBC News site states the shocking fact that some pensioner household cut their spending on essentials such as food during the cold weather to enable sufficiently funding to heat their homes.

The report from The Institute of Fiscal Studies, found that elderly people saw a 7% increase on fuel spending during cold spells, whilst a separate reports claims a decrease in expenditure on food by the elderly during the same time period.

Elderly care

As energy provider Scottish Power confirmed that customers will see an increase in the cost of gas and electricity in the coming months, which will almost certainly be followed by other providers. The price of staying warm and healthy during colder periods looks bleak for the elderly.

Although I am aware of the impact which the harsh weather has on vulnerable elderly people, I find it unbearable to think that the elderly are suffering so harshly.

The article mentions government schemes such as the Winter Fuel Allowance which are accessible for the elderly. Although such are a great way to support the elderly in affording ever rising fuel costs, I agree with Laura Blow from IFS who suggest that ‘simply calling a benefit by a particular name can have a real effect on how it is spent’. As the elderly seem to be restricting their spending to heating along, forgetting about the need to stay on top of other areas for a healthy life style.

family and friends

Support each other...

I personally feel that it is important to make sure that all the necessary steps are taken to ensure that elderly loved ones aren’t missing out on essentials. Here are my steps to help the elderly:

– Support: It might sound obvious but help from friends, family, local authorities, community support etc… can all take the burden off elderly people who might be struggling.

-Research: Do some research to find out what you (or a relative) are entitled too. There are lots of government benefits which aren’t claimed because people don’t know that they are eligible to them. Here is a basic guide to benefits which you might find helpful.

-Save your money: Make the most out of offers, vouchers and ways to save money! Using resources such as Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert can really help you make some essential saving. His tips range from how to claim energy grants, ensuring you’re receiving the correct state pension payments and simple stuff like making the most of Tesco club vouchers which can help save money here and there.

Charities: Don’t be afraid to get help and support from charities. Age UK ran a great scheme during the winter called ‘Spread the Warmth’, which helped thousands of old people stay healthy, warm and happy despite the freezing temperatures.


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