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‘I’m 72 and barely have enough money to leave the house, pensioners rely on the triple lock’

A former teacher has revealed that even with a surprise boost to pensions of up to 8 per cent, elderly retirees like her will struggle to pay their bills and fund any extras, leaving them increasingly isolated.

Lyn Henderson, 72, lives at home with her mother, 95. She retired aged 60 and receives £820 a month via her state pension. She spends £365 of it on bills alone, including her water, gas, electricity and broadband for the home they share in Bristol.

As her mother owns the home, Ms Henderson does not need to worry about rent or a mortgage, but she worries about the future.

“If mum passes away this house will have to be sold and I wouldn’t be able to afford rent anywhere. Somebody would have to help me,” she told i.

The former nursery teacher already rarely leaves the house due to the rising cost of living. She said: “Every time I go shopping things have gone up so I have to watch what I spend all the time. I don’t go out or far very much. I get a bus if I need to go to the shopping mall.

“I don’t drive a lot because of petrol. I just use the car for essentials really or to keep it running over. It’s cheaper to use the bus.”

The level of the state pension is governed by a “triple lock” which ensures that it goes up each year determined by either inflation, growth in earnings or by 2.5 per cent – whichever is highest.

Inflation for the year to September – which is used as a benchmark for the triple lock – is expected to come in at around 7 per cent when it is published in October, meaning the state pension is set for a significant increase regardless of earnings data.

But new figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that total wages, including bonuses, have risen by 8.2 per cent in the past year.

If the growth in pay is sustained in the next set of data, which will be used to set the level of the state pension, pensioners will get around £220 a week – up from the current £203.85.

But this still isn’t enough, Ms Henderson said. “We’ve got to be grateful for the odd few pence but I’m not happy because you can’t do a lot with it. It’s not enough to make our eyes sparkle.”

She said her retirement has not fulfilled her expectations as a result of the cost of living crisis. “I thought I’d be doing coach trips with my friends, going to buy clothes quite often or to buy coffee. Normally in retirement you can go here, there and everywhere.

“This is not the retirement I wanted or thought I would have. I feel like life has gone backwards.

“It’s getting to the point where you can’t even survive on the state pension. Forget about enjoying yourself and your life.”

Twice a week some of Ms Henderson’s friends meet for coffee but she “can’t do that” and only joins them on a Friday at a local café. In the week she sometimes attends swimming and on Sunday goes to church.

For a few hours each day she cares for her mother who has dementia but is worried about life beyond that. She has family abroad but cannot afford her own flight ticket to visit them so relies on having it bought for her.

“I wouldn’t be able to do these things on my low income,” she said.

“I feel the Government don’t bother with retired people and people with low incomes.

“They never experienced what we always experience even under easier times.

“If their family gets ill they have private care and money to get sorted. They don’t have to stay in a queue.”

The Government and Labour are both committed to the future of the triple lock despite calls from some economists to reconsider the policy, which has led to pensioners seeing stronger income growth than workers in recent years.

Former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb – who was behind the launch of the triple lock – told i earlier this week that the policy could be scrapped once the state pension reaches a “reasonable” share of earnings.

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