Poverty warning for older Londoners

London Assembly urges mayor to do more to protect older residents from falling into poverty, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Old people at Tower Bridge
credit Kenza Benaouda via Unsplash

Action must be taken to protect older Londoners from falling into poverty, Sadiq Khan has been told.

The London Assembly’s economy committee warned the mayor that older Londoners who wish to continue working need to feel welcome in the capital’s workplaces – and that those getting by on pensions should not be missing out on cash to which they’re entitled.

The committee cited research from charity Age UK London suggesting that poverty levels among older Londoners are the highest in England, with 25% of over-50s in the capital living in poverty, compared to 18% in the rest of England. This is despite the fact that London has the highest rate of over 65s in work in the country.

During its investigation into the issue, the committee heard that the return of more older people to the capital’s workforce could help address labour market shortages, contribute towards the financial stability of older Londoners, and support London’s economy.

In a letter to Khan, the committee said he should develop an “employers toolkit for older Londoners” to help workplaces become more “age-friendly”, based on similar examples in other parts of the UK.

The toolkit could potentially include information on ‘age positive’ hiring practices and advice on how to encourage career development at all ages. The committee also said the mayor should lobby the government to provide more personalised careers advice and specific support for over-50s seeking employment.

For older people who are retired and making ends meet on a pension, the committee warned that despite rising cost of living pressures, uptake of pension credit remains relatively low in London. Pension credit is extra money, separate to the state pension, which tops up the income of older people if they’re struggling to make ends meet.

City Hall estimates that some £246.5million of pension credit is unclaimed in London each year, suggesting that thousands of eligible households are missing out on up to £3,300 each.

Khan has already launched a campaign to boost the benefit’s uptake, but the committee said he should report back to them on the impact of that campaign and inform them of his plans to scale it up, as well as lobbying the government to help raise awareness of it.

A spokesperson for Khan said: “The mayor has received the assembly’s letter and will be responding in due course.”

No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month. £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else. £84 annual supporters get a print copy by post and a digital copy of each month's before anyone else.

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly 

More Information about donations