In Brief

Pensioners '£20 a week better off' than working families

Property, private pensions and state's 'triple-lock' policy push older people's incomes above their children's

Britain's pensioners are £20 a week better off than working-age families, a new study by Resolution Foundation think-tank says.

The story is quite different from the turn of the century, when the average pensioner household was £70 a week worse off than working-age peers, says the BBC.

However, the change is not a result of all pensioners doing much better, but rather reflects the move into retirement of an especially well-off group of baby boomers, who benefitted from generous final-salary pensions and control vast property wealth.

"While typical incomes across the pensioner population have grown by more than 30 per cent since 2001, the typical income of someone who turned 65 in that year was only 7 per cent higher by 2014," the BBC says.

In addition, today's pensioners are more likely to work than their predecessors.

Adam Corlett, an economic analyst at Resolution Foundation, said: "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.

"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."

Former Tory minister Lord David Willetts, an executive chairman of Resolution Foundation, called for the "triple-lock" pension policy to be reviewed.

Under the policy, which was backed by all three main parties at the last general election, the state pension is guaranteed to rise in line with the highest measure of inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is greater.

As a result, pensioners have enjoyed well-above inflation rises in their state pension for a number of years while working-age incomes stagnate.

Lord Willetts added: "I actually think pensioners worry about their kids and grandchildren. They don't want to live in a society where all the big increases in incomes are accruing to pensioners and other groups are being left behind."

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