Silver RPI falls but retirees still face the pinch

Robyn Hall

November 14, 2012

The Silver Retail Price Index from the commercial services arm of the charity Age UK results revealed that the over 55s have been experiencing inflation during the year at 2.35% in contrast to the wider population at 2.65%.

The index, now in its third year, is a measure of costs faced by those in later life derived from official RPI data for Age UK Enterprises.

While the fall in Silver RPI is encouraging there are a number of factors to be considered. Significant energy price rises are about to take effect in the coming weeks and older people are disproportionately impacted by energy costs compared to the general population as this expense accounts for a greater proportion of their fixed income.

And older people’s finances are still being squeezed. Since 2008 over 55s are, on average, £914 a year worse off than official measures recognise. For those aged between 60 and 74 years this figure rises to more than £1,000.

Gordon Morris, managing director at Age UK Enterprises, said: “While it is very welcome news that the Silver RPI has fallen below headline RPI this may only be a brief respite due to the rise in energy costs to come. Consumers should take advantage of the best deals on the market now and look to fix their energy tariff ahead of any future price increases.

“The wider economic situation is clearly cause for concern as many older people now face a double whammy of low interest rates and falling annuity rates.”

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