Pensioners 'cutting back on energy usage'

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Two-thirds of pensioners are cutting back on the amount they spend on gas and electricity, according to new research.

Age Concern's study found that 66 per cent are planning to reduce their expenditure on energy, while over half are spending less on food in order to meet the rising cost of power.

However, the survey also found that half of those claiming Pension Credit said they are less concerned about essential bills.

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: "Pension Credit has the potential to lift hundreds of thousands of pensioners out of poverty, but will remain more flagging than flagship without urgent action to reform the faltering benefits system.

"Introducing a system of automatic benefits it is the only effective way to reach all those who need help through these difficult financial times."

Recent research by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform found that the price of electricity for domestic customers rose by 7.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2008 compared to 12 months earlier.

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