IFS report reveals shock rise in pensioner poverty but is all as it seems?

Tom Selby
19 June 2019

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has today published a report on living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK in 2019.

You can read the full document here: https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/14193

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, comments: 

“The headline finding that pensioner poverty has risen for the first time since 2011/12 will no doubt send shockwaves through Government and be seized upon by Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. 

“It is particularly surprising given the state pension triple-lock now provides iron-clad protection for older people’s retirement incomes. 

“Two factors are cited as key to these recent trends: declining private pension incomes and rising housing costs. 

“In fact, on the face of it, the analysis suggests average incomes from private pensions have dropped by a staggering 20% in the past six years. 

“This figure may have been skewed by the pension freedoms, however, with full withdrawals using the flexibilities introduced in April 2015 not included in people’s income data. It is vital the Government now gets under the skin of this information in order to determine any potentially worrying trends.

“A 16% surge in housing costs between 2011/12 and 2017/18 – more than five times the increase in the previous six year period – was also a significant drain on pensioner incomes, with the poorest being hit by rising rents.”

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