‘We’re living off sandwiches’ Woman says state pension leaves her struggling. ‘Insulting!’

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Financial expert explains changes to the state pension

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Unfortunately, 68-year-old Benita isn’t the only pensioner who has been forced to cook less and eat fewer meals. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk she said her entire generation “feels insulted” by the lack of financial assistance they are receiving and “cooking will soon become a pastime for the wealthy”.

She said: “I feel insulted. I worked for over 30 years in the care sector with difficult kids that nobody else wanted to look after.”

Benita and her cousin Tavy – who is 76 and lives in nearby Paignton – feel distraught at the situation they now face.

Not only that but they are “mindless with worry” about what will happen over the next few months if energy bills rise as predicted.

She continued: “My pension is nothing, it’s the basic state pension with a little bit of pension credit – I have £742.88 a month to live off.”

“If energy prices increase by 54 percent, as I read in one of the papers, then my monthly increase in my energy bill alone will be about £62.”

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The pensioner used to enjoy cooking and baking but says this is now “a pastime for the wealthy.”

She added: “If dinner now is soup and a sandwich – which it quite often is – what will we drop?

“Putting the oven on costs so much – you see the meter go round and you think ‘I better switch it off’.

“We don’t buy new clothes and neither of us drink – we’ve worked hard all our lives and it’s all for nothing.”

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The only time Benita remembers life being so hard is when her oldest daughter was born in 1972.

She recalls: “I can remember the harsh winters we had then with the electricity cuts.

“Going to bed at 6pm with extra coats on the bed to keep warm.

“The purpose of that was the miners’ strike – but what’s this for?”

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The DWP said it is providing £12billion to help people meet the cost of living.

A spokesperson told Express.col.uk: “A further £9billion was announced by the Chancellor last week to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

“Combined with last year’s 2.5 percent increase to pensions, we have ensured pensioners’ incomes have been protected.

“Our winter fuel payments are supporting over 11 million pensioners with their energy bills and we are continuing to encourage those eligible for Pension Credit, and the wide range of other benefits it can provide, to make a claim.”

Do you want to share your story with Express Money? Get in touch by emailing personal.finance@reachplc.com. Unfortunately we cannot respond to every email.

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