Pensioner incomes above those of working families, report finds.

15 February 2017

A new report that tracks the scale of income growth across different generations over the last 50 years was launched today at an event hosted by the Resolution Foundation for the Intergenerational Commission.

People’s Health Trust attended the event. It was also attended by other organisations such as Age UK, the Centre for Ageing Better and Millenial thinktank, Common Vision.

The report finds that a strong growth in pensioner income, coupled with weak income growth for working age households, has driven a huge change in living standards across Britain. Typical pensioner households are now £20 a week better off than typical working age households (after housing costs).

The report identifies four key drivers of growth in typical pensioner incomes since the 2000s. These are: the possession of occupational pensions, a growth in the numbers in employment, increased state benefits, and a move towards home ownership from renting.

While typical incomes across the pensioner population have grown by over 30% since 2001, many older people in Britain have seen little change in personal circumstances. The think tank says growth in pensioner incomes has been coupled with weak income growth for working-age people.

Following the presentation of the report and its findings, a panel and audience discussion focused on gender, class, place, and the circumstances in which people live.

It’s interesting to consider the socio-economic differences that can exist between older people that can lead to varying degrees of wealth or poverty. Where you live, your gender and your circumstances can impact greatly on your wealth as you age.

Adam Corlett, Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“One of the most intriguing aspects of the recent living standards story across Britain has been typical pensioner household incomes overtaking working age households for the first time.

“This has led some to assume that all pensioners are enjoying some kind of boom amid the painful squeeze for everyone else. The reality is quite different – the incomes of individual pensioners grow relatively slowly, particularly once they’ve stopped working.

“Instead, the main driver of pensioner income growth has been the arrival of successive new waves of pensioners, who are more likely to work, own their home and have generous private pension wealth than any previous generation.

“Of course, not all pensioners can draw on these income sources, which is why the state pension will always be the main income for many pensioners. We can’t assume either that young people today will be able to drawn upon the kind of wealth that recent pensioners have accumulated, given the recent fall in home ownership and decline in generous defined benefit schemes.

“The big challenge we face as a society is to ensure that the record incomes that a new generation of pensioners are enjoying are not a one-off gift, and can endure for future generations too.”

To read or download the report, click here.

To read more news from the Trust, click here.

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