TV Licence change - a reminder to check benefits entitlement

The impending end of free TV licences for all over-75s should be a trigger to check your entitlement to state benefits.

"From August, only those in households where one person is receiving Pension Credit will be eligible for a free TV licence," said our Group Communications Director, Stephen Lowe. "It’s a good reminder that anyone struggling on a low income should make sure they claim what they are entitled to."

House in the country

Home ownership among over-65s at a record high

Official figures have revealed that home ownership levels among the 65+ age group have reached nearly 79% - the highest ever recorded level – but that most younger age groups are seeing falls in home ownership, with more turning to the private rented sector.

The Office for National Statistics said that changing trends in housing tenure is important for understanding the implications of the UK’s ageing population.

It said that, as well as financial implications, housing tenure differs in terms of housing quality, which can affect health, and in terms of the accessibility and adaptability of property, to the changing needs of occupants in later life.

One in four have used property to provide income

Major research by Just into how Britons think and feel about their property has revealed that one in four have or are using property to generate income.

"For many, buying a home is a major ambition and their property is their biggest asset," said our Group Communications Director, Stephen Lowe. "With longer lives and more responsibility on individuals to build up their own retirement funds, we would expect to see more people using property to supplement other income in the coming years."

High Street

More older workers on zero-hour contracts

Younger people are not the only ones being employed on irregular hours or incomes according to official figures that show a doubling in the numbers of 50 to 64-year-olds on zero-hour contracts in the last six years, the fastest rise of any age group.

"This could reflect older workers easing back towards retirement or it could be that many are finding it difficult to secure jobs with wage security," said our Group Communications Director Stephen Lowe. "Certainly, more women than men are employed on zero-hour contracts as well as those with lower skills, groups recognised as often having lower pension provision."

"With State Pension Age being pushed back to 66 by the end of this year and further increases after that, it is important to think about whether enough is being done to ensure those forced to work longer have decent jobs to go to."

State pension will rise by up to £343 a year from April 2020

Millions of retirees on the new state pension will receive a guaranteed increase of 3.9% from April, in line with average earnings.

Please take a look at this table to see how much more you could get.

2019/20 2020/21 Increase (per week)
New State Pension £168.60 £175.20 +£6.60
Basic State Pension (single) £129.20 £134.25 +£5.05
Basic State Pension (married) £206.65 £214.75 +£8.10

Pensioners who are entitled to the full new single-tier state pension will get £175.20 a week from 6 April 2020, up from £168.60. The change means this group of pensioners will be up to £343.20 better off by the end of the 2020-21 tax year, taking their total income to £9,110.40.

Pensioners that reached state pension age before April 2016, and receive the basic state pension, will see their weekly payment rise from £129.20 to £134.25 a week next year. This amounts to a £262.60 pay rise in 2020-21, with income rising to £6,981 a year.

Income Tax Allowances 2020/21

The tables below show the tax allowance thresholds, effective 6 April 2020, in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (after the personal allowance of £12,500 has been applied):

England & Northern Ireland
Basic Rate 20% £1 - £37,500
Higher Rate 40% £37,501 - £150,000
Additional Rate 45% £150,001 >
Basic Rate 20% £1 - £37,500
Higher Rate 40% £37,501 - £150,000
Additional Rate 45% £150,001 >

The table below shows the tax allowance thresholds, effective 11 May 2020*, in Scotland (after the personal allowance of £12,500 has been applied):

Starter Rate 19% £1 - £2,085
Basic Rate 20% £2,086 - £12,658
Intermediate Rate 21% £12,659 - £30,930
Higher Rate 41% £30,931 - £150,000
Top Rate 46% £150,001 >

*Please note - the Scottish tax allowance thresholds will remain the same as 2019/20 until 10th May 2020.