Thousands of Dumfries and Galloway pensioners won’t have enough money to cover essential spending

Thousands of pensioners in Dumfries and Galloway won’t have enough money to cover essential spending this year.

Research from charity Age Scotland has estimated 220,000 older households nationally will have insufficient income to pay for food and drink, rent, council tax and utility bills.

A quarter of the region’s residents are over the age of 65 and there are fears that this could be a “very challenging time” for pensioners.

Phil Stewart, chief executive of Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service, said: “Age Scotland have absolutely nailed it.

“It’s very worrying across all age groups but when 26 per cent of your population is over 65 and many are on the basic state pension with limited income coming in and facing rising costs, they may face significant difficulties.”

Age Scotland has warned rising bills and the increased cost of living will push older households into poverty and financial insecurity.

Mr Stewart added: “There’s a very real concern as we head through the summer, autumn and beyond that inflation is going to top out at 10 per cent.

“It’s a difficult and challenging time for everybody, especially older people with limited pension and income, to make ends meet.

“That’s without a potential extra £100 gap that could be coming when heating could be going back on and costs are rising even further. It’s a very challenging time for them.”

DAGCAS is urging anyone who needs help with their finances to contact them.

A range of schemes exist to help with issues such as council tax reduction, home heating and updating boilers to save money.

Mr Stewart said: “My advice would be please don’t suffer in silence.

“Contact your local Citizens Advice office in the region or give us a call on 0300 303 4321 and we will see what we can do to assist you.

“Are you claiming all of your entitlements, are you getting your pension as it should be paid to you?

“With changes to the pension scheme tens of thousands of women across the country, depending on their circumstances, could be underpaid.

“The government is contacting some of those who could be entitled to an increase but not all. So I’d urge women to make sure they’re getting all of the pension they’re entitled to.

He added: “Three quarters of over 60–year–olds in Dumfries and Galloway own their own homes.

“A lot of these are older homes as you’d expect so they might not be the best insulated or have up to date boilers and there are plenty of schemes which can assist those on low pensionable income as well as well as council tax reductions.

“Folk should be looking into this. If they can do it themselves fine but if they need help they can email, call or come in and see us we can help them maximize their income.”

Age Scotland is calling on the Scottish, UK and newly elected local governments to take action to help older people.

Chief executive Brian Sloan said: “It’s scandalous so many older households are being left with no choice but to switch off their heating and reduce the amount of food they buy or risk falling into debt due to unmanageable bills.

“These debts will become ever harder to clear as their outgoings from fixed incomes continue to rise. There must be more that politicians can do to help, so the time to act is now, rather than waiting until life becomes even worse for many more people.”

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