News that Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be giving pensioners and health workers a one-off grant to help them make ends meet due to rising energy and food costs has been welcomed. However, it has highlighted the fact that British pensioners have been left without any financial help.
The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be handing out one-off grants to low-income pensioners and medical staff ahead of Christmas, according to news agency Reuters.
This is to help them meet rising living costs as energy and food prices rise as consumer inflation hit a high of 3.4 percent in October.
Mr Mitsotakis said 800,000 pensioners on low incomes and 173,000 disabled people would each get a one-off handout of 250 euros before the end of the year, which is equivalent to £210.
However in the UK, the British government is cutting benefits for pensioners and has announced that the triple lock will be suspended this year.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said the British government has a duty to protect the most vulnerable in society.
Ms Abrahams said: “We’ve been contacted by thousands of older people who are worried about their rising bills this winter.
“Soaring energy costs are causing a huge amount of anxiety and we are really concerned that many of the poorest and most vulnerable pensioners are already feeling forced to choose between heating and eating – a choice no one should have to make in 21st century Britain.
“The sad fact is that there are many older people in this country who are living in poor health, on a low, fixed income, in a hard to heat home.
She continued: “These are some of the most vulnerable among us and the Government has a duty to protect their health and welfare this winter.
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said there is help for vulnerable households, including pensioners.
The spokesperson said: “The UK basic State Pension is now over £2,050 a year higher in cash terms than a decade ago and is supported by further support for older people, which includes Pension Credit and help with fuel bills over the colder months.
“In addition, vulnerable households across the country are able to access a £500m support fund to help them with essentials over the coming months.”
Age UK said that it would urge any older person who is worried about their bills or staying warm to get in touch in case they are entitled to some extra help.
“Around a million pensioner households are missing out on Pension Credit payments worth up to £1.6 billion every year – an average of £32 a week or over £1,600 a year per recipient – which could make a huge difference over the coming months if claimed.
“Not only that but claiming Pension Credit opens the door to a range of support including Cold Weather Payments and Warm Home Discount which can give people the confidence they need to keep the heating on when it’s cold outside.”