A firm campaigning for pensioners rights has attacked means-testing as an approach that fails to tackle the root of pensions poverty.
The Government announced yesterday it has cut the number of pensioners in absolute poverty by 1.9 million in the past eight years, according to new figures.
The Department for Work and Pensions
says numbers are down from 2.8 million recorded in 1997, to a current figure of 900,000, 100,000 of whom have been lifted out of their poverty standings during the past year.It says relative pensioner poverty is also down by a quarter or 700,000 since 1997, 300,000 of whom where accounted for during last year.Alan Johnson the secretary of State for Work and Pensions says: “The big reduction in poverty is concentrated in the second half of this tax year, when Pension Credit was in place.”The director-general of Age Concern
, Gordon Lishman says he welcomes the DWP figures with Pension Credit helping to raise the incomes of some of the poorest pensioners, however there is still an enormous amount of work to be done to alleviate the two million pensioners who remain in poverty.He calls for more Government effort to tackle the ‘mountain’ of unclaimed benefits cash to those individuals most in need.Lishman says: “The Government’s approach of mass means-testing does not solve the root cause of the problem. We need a pension system that prevents people from facing poverty in later life.”‘Absolute poverty’ refers to individuals in households below 60% of the 1996/97 median; with relative poverty referring to households below 60% of the contemporary median.
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