NEWS:

Almost ten per cent of older people do not have a current account according to new research by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), and Age UK.

Furthermore, the report, ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’ found that among older people surveyed in 2002 and 2008, fifteen per cent of older people did not report having a current account at both points – the latest date for which figures are available. Six per cent of older people who reported a current account in 2002 no longer did so in 2008.

The report also found that older people were most likely to become excluded from financial products.  Between 2002 and 2008, 9.3 per cent of people aged 80 plus became excluded from financial products compared to only 2.1 per cent of those aged 50-59.

Older people from ethnic minorities were more likely to be excluded from financial products, such as private pensions and life insurance. In 2008, the odds of an older person from an ethnic minority being excluded from financial products were three times higher than the odds of a white older person.

Dr Dylan Kneale, Head of Research at ILC-UK, said: “While reporting errors may account for part of this effect, the results nevertheless show a surprising degree of instability in the use of financial products by older people. There is a need for more research to understand how and why exclusion from financial products is changing over time”.

To produce the new report, ILC-UK analysed the most recently available data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), which was collected in 2008, and examined how patterns of social exclusion changed since 2002. Social exclusion was measured across seven domains including exclusion from social relationships, local amenities, financial products, civic activities and access to information, decent housing and public transport, cultural activities, and common consumer goods.

The report also found almost a third of older people either no longer reporting any life insurance (23%) or reporting that they had taken up life insurance (7%) between 2002 and 2008. Overall, there was a 9% decline from 2002 among older consumers of life insurance to 42.7% in 2008.

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK, said: “This report shows that we should not be complacent about financial exclusion. Access to financial products is vital if broader social exclusion is to be tackled. The most disadvantaged are being hit hardest as a result of a lack of access to financial services and products”.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK, said, “This research suggests that older people have tried banking and perhaps sought access to other financial services and have found that they don’t work for them.  Many of these services are essential and so need to be designed with everyone in mind, including older people.

“Age UK hears from older people who want to use banking services, but can’t.  This can be because local banks have closed, call centres are inaccessible or simply because they find it very hard to get cash out.”

In the report, ILC-UK urges the development of initiatives and support programmes to encourage the development/uptake of financial products among disadvantaged older people.

NOTES

  1. The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for debate.
  2. The report, ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’, will be available on 19th September on the ILC-UK website at http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/is_social_exclusion_still_important_for_older_people Advan.ced copies are available for journalists.
  3. The report ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’, will be launched at a breakfast seminar on 19th September.
  4. Age UK is funding a three year research fellowship at the ILC-UK. This fellowship allows us to undertake important research on ageing and longevity. Through the research fellowship, ILC-UK will undertake a number of pieces of policy and research work in agreement with Age UK. The ILC-UK is most appreciative of this opportunity given by Age UK.

Contact:
David Sinclair, Jessica Watson, or Dylan Kneale on 02073400440 or 07531 164 886.

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