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Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMI)

K Purdam featured on the BBC News discussing older people, loneliness and the forgotten welfare gap

8 November 2017

CMI's Dr K Purdam was recently featured on BBC North West Tonight, BBC Radio news and in the Independent newspaper discussing research findings about the numbers of older people in the UK struggling to get by.

While many older people have been less affected by the recent recession than other age groups, in part because of the triple lock protection for pensions, poverty can persist in old age. 1.6m pensioners live below the relative poverty line, and 8% of pensioners are in persistent poverty. Age UK has highlighted how nearly one million older people have unmet social care needs.

Dr Purdam’s research, which involved analysis of survey data and interviews with older people using foodbanks, has shown that welfare reform and austerity has affected growing numbers of older people and many are going without the support they need. Many older people are skipping meals and having to choose between eating and heating their homes. This puts their long-term health at risk. One 72-year-old woman stated: “Sometimes I just go without putting the heating on.” Another 54-year-old man admitted: “I can go for a couple of days without food… the gas is cut off and I get hot water from the kettle to wash.” 

As the size of the older population continues to grow, the reductions in government spending on social care raise concerns about their long-term welfare. Given the follow-on costs to the public purse, including in terms of healthcare, the government must do more to combat food insecurity social isolation amongst older people.

Further information about Kingsley's research can be found at - The Forgotten Welfare Gap in Older Age.

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