Sun Life Direct

Sun Life Direct

April 12, 2012 06:40 ET

'Granny Tax' and Fuel Crisis to Intensify British Pensioners' Cost of Living Concerns

-Sun Life Direct urges Britons to claim the benefits they are entitled to in later life-

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - April 12, 2012) -

  • Budget outlines reforms that will shrink pensioners' weekly budgets
  • Cost of heating, transport and food tops concerns over health, mortgage repayments and recession for over 65s
  • Sun Life Direct sponsors 'Help yourself to prepare for later life' information leaflet

Research from Sun Life Direct, the expert in the cost of dying, reveals that many Brits over 65 seem to be living on a day-by-day basis, pre-occupied with short-term concerns. The results of a survey of 431 people aged 65 and over reveal that paying heating bills is the foremost worry for over half the population (51%). Transport costs and the price of food complete the three most dominant concerns for 2012 shared by those questioned.

A 'double whammy' of rising prices and shrinking weekly budgets means these concerns and realities around cost of living are likely to intensify as the full impact of 'austerity Britain' continues to hit. According to figures from HMRC, the reforms in this year's Budget will mean that from next April 4.41 million pensioners will be worse off in real terms, with an average loss of £83 a year(1). This squeeze, combined with increasing heating, transport and food prices(2) will mean that many will find it even more difficult to pay their bills in full and on time.

Simon Cox, head of life planning for Sun Life Direct, comments:

"This research underlines that in tough economic times people feel they do not have the luxury to worry about what is beyond the horizon. With the Chancellor's Budget also meaning pensioners will have less cash in their pocket than they otherwise would have had, the man-on-the-street is going to get more and more worried about what will happen today, tomorrow and the day after."

In partnership with national charity Citizens Advice, Sun Life Direct has published a new leaflet to help people prepare for later life. The leaflet can be found at www.adviceguide.org.uk and includes details of all the financial help people may be entitled to, particularly in light of the recent additional Budget changes.

'Help yourself to prepare for later life' is written by Citizens Advice experts with the aim of ensuring people don't miss out on benefits available in retirement.

Simon Cox points out the help that may be available to some people in paying their bills:

"During times when households are under intense financial pressure, it is important to make sure people are taking advantage of all the benefits available to them. We know from our own customer research that people do not always have access to money in their later life. Some 1.6 million pensioners miss out on some of the benefits they are entitled to while almost £3 billion of pension credit goes unclaimed. We need to raise awareness of the benefits people are entitled to and we hope the 'Help yourself to prepare for later life' leaflet will go some way in doing this."

Notes to editors

(1) http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/tiin-2046.pdf

(2) DEFRA statistics show that food prices have risen 26% since June 2007(3); housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels are up 7.4% year on year to January 2012 and transport prices are up 4% in the same period according to January's CPI figures(4).

(3) http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/files/defra-stats-foodfarm-food-pocketbook-2011.pdf

(4) http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-223954

About the research

1,236 adults aged 40 and above were surveyed.

About Sun Life Direct

Sun Life Direct is a provider of Over 50 Life Insurance, Funeral Plans and Life Insurance. In fact, the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan is the nation's most popular choice for over 50s life insurance*. The Sun Life name has been around for 200 years and has roots stretching back to 1810. By 1900 Sun Life were the first to offer life insurance without the need for a medical - something we're still proud to offer today. More information on Sun Life Direct can be found at www.sunlifedirect.co.uk

* Most popular whole of life guaranteed acceptance plan bought directly. ABI statistics, Q1 - Q3 2011

About AXA

AXA UK is a part of the AXA Group. The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management serving 101 million clients. It is ranked the largest insurer in the world by net written premium and the top insurance brand globally.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth; AXA Commercial Lines, AXA Personal Lines, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 13,000 staff in the UK.

For full year 2011, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 86.1 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 3.9 billion. AXA had Euro 1,079 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2011.

The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISIN FR0000120628 - Bloomberg: CS FP - Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA's American Depositary Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

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