It doesn't add up - Cost of living crisis campaign | Age 51Թapp


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It Doesn't Add Up - Cost of Living Crisis campaign

Image of woman holding a 'HEAT OR EAT?' sign

Heat or eat?

7.2 million older people are worried about affording essentials, like heating and food.

Older people are being forced to make impossible decisions to cope with their bills. Many are being pushed into debt. That's why Age 51Թapp is campaigning to make older people's incomes and bills add up.

Older people get in touch with us every day with heartbreaking stories – they're drastically cutting back on their spending, but no matter what they do, their finances just won’t stretch to cover the huge rise in prices. People of all ages across the country are finding that their monthly budgets simply don’t add up anymore.

  • In May 2023, of people aged over 50 in Great Britain, 11.3 million were finding it difficult to afford their energy bills and 1.3 million had a Direct Debit, standing order or bill that they weren't able to pay. 
  • Recently, 4.2 million over 60s have cut back on food or groceries to make ends meet. 

Read our report

In July 2023, we published a report on what the Government must do to tackle the cost of living crisis for older people.

Download and read the report here (PDF, 2 MB)

Older people are being pushed into debt, living in cold houses, eating less and cutting back on time with friends and family. Sky-high bills – including energy, transport and food – have depleted savings and left many unable to cope.

There are many older people struggling who miss out on extra support from the Government as they don’t quite qualify for financial help, such as Pension Credit.

It’s no longer the cost of living – it’s the cost of surviving.

Energy bills and high price hikes in the price of food have driven us to the brink. We're dipping into our meagre savings, running faster and still losing ground.


Help with the cost of living

See our information on what government support is available to help with energy bills, and what you can do to feel more in control of your finances. 

What we're asking for

  • Increasing the Household Support Fund to help those struggling including people just missing out on Pension Credit.
  • Committing to the Triple Lock past the next General Election and continuing to raise benefits in line with inflation.
  • Introducing a discounted energy deal (social tariff) for disabled people, carers and those on low incomes facing fuel poverty.

The Government must act to ensure that people of all ages on low and modest incomes get help to meet rising costs now and into the future.

Why this is so important

My husband has advanced Alzheimer’s, is totally bedbound, doubly incontinent and my daughter and I care for him completely at home. He has to be washed and changed at least three times a day and consequently my washing machine and dryer are permanently in use. We have to keep the heating on most of the time as his temperature quickly drops if the house gets cold. Our fuel bills are currently £270 per month.  These latest increases will make an enormous difference to our expenses but we have no choice because of my husband's health.


The system is unfair. My income is £4 a week over the limit to claim Pension Credit so I'm not entitled to any of the help currently offered to those on low incomes.


I no longer have any spare money and have to go into my overdraft every month because of the cost of my mortgage, food and energy bills.


I can’t keep warm. It’s freezing. I am disabled and very poorly. I'm going to have to switch off the hot water and all heating until next winter.


Phone icon We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age 51Թapps.

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Last updated: Jun 13 2024

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