Business

Pensioners 'relying on the state', says ONS

A third of UK pensioners rely solely on the state for income during their retirement years, according to official statistics.

Some 31% of pensioners had no provision other than the state pension and the top-up offered through minimum income guarantee or pension credit.

The figures, from 2007-8, were published in the Office for National Statistics' Social Trends survey.

The publication is an annual account of the state of the nation.

Responsibility

Single women were more likely to rely on a state pension only (42%) than single men (31%) or pensioner couples (19%).

The majority of people believe it is the responsibility of the government to ensure people are financially stable in retirement, the ONS report also suggested.

In 2008, some 59% of those asked in the UK said it was up to the government to make sure those in old age had enough to live on.

Pensions account for the highest proportion of all government expenditure on benefits.

About 60% of the £136bn benefit expenditure managed by the Department for Work and Pensions was paid to people of state pension age - 65 and over for men and 60 and over for women.

Some 2% (£2.6bn) was for the benefit of children, and 13% (£17.5bn) was to people with disabilities not related to age, the ONS said.

Savings

The full report - the latest in a 40-year series - was published on Friday. However, part of the report was released in April.

This revealed that people in the UK were saving less than at any time in the past 40 years.

The household saving ratio in the UK in 2008 was 1.7% of total resources, the lowest recorded since 1970, and well below the 7.6% average for that period.

It also showed that in 1970 the highest proportion of household expenditure was spent on food and non-alcoholic drinks.

But 40 years later it was housing, water and fuel that cost the most. They represented 21% of domestic household expenditure compared with 15% in 1970.

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