Despite widespread perceptions of an affluent London, new government statistics show that that the income of older Londoners after housing costs lags behind the rest of the UK. In 2020, UK pensioners had average incomes (after housing costs) of £331 per week.
The data (Pensioners’ Incomes Series: financial year 2019 to 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) shows that on average, pensioner couple incomes were lowest in London, where incomes were 11% below the UK average.
But single pensioners in London had the lowest average incomes by a large margin. Their incomes were 14% below the UK average.
Differences between regions are likely to be associated with demographic and economic variations, including housing costs which are higher in London.
Across the UK younger pensioners had higher incomes than older pensioners; on average, single pensioners had lower incomes; and single men continue to have higher incomes than single women.
This comes at the same time as there are worrying trends that pensioner poverty in the UK may be on the rise. New government statistics released show that 18% of pensioners in the UK, or 2.1 million, were living in poverty, after housing costs in 2019/20 – but this is an increase from 15.9% the year before. Pre Covid it’s estimated by the Trust for London that 24 per cent of pensioners in London live in poverty.
It’s key that London’s recovery addresses these issues of poverty and hardship amongst older Londoners. But we also need more data and information about the implications. PAiL has been pressing for the GLA to carry out more research on the needs of older workers in London.