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Pensioners need more help from Brown on Budget day

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UK pensioners are struggling against the odds when it comes to their finances, according to organisations concerned with the welfare of older people.

With steep increases in council tax, and energy bills soaring over the past few years (despite the reductions seen from British Gas this week), pensioners are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

Help the Aged has pointed out that the average fuel bill now stands at £1,100 a year and many are finding it difficult to cope on the basic State pension of £84.25 a week – the worst pension rate in Europe.

For older homeowners there are other challenges. Taxes on homeownership have trebled to £7.9bn since 1997 and the threshold for inheritance tax is stuck at £285,000, affecting 1.5 million homes in the UK.

Peter Girling, chairman of Girlings Retirement Options, said: “With the average UK home now worth £200,000, it is plain to see that the current inheritance tax threshold is iniquitous.

“People struggle throughout their lives to purchase their home with the help of a mortgage, with no tax relief on this major investment from the State.”

He continued: “It only succeeds in eroding the capital base of the country as it takes away the freedom of individuals to leave their estate as they choose.

“Enough is enough! Tax revenues have increased from £179bn when Labour came to power to £346bn now – so when are pensioners going to see some of this money?”

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