People aged over 50 are spending an increasingly large proportion of their income on basic items such as fuel and food, according to a new study.

A quarter of older households in England saw a rise of 10% or more in the proportion they spent on basic items between 2004/05 and 2008/09 - with spending on domestic fuel soaring by a third in real terms over the past five years.

The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing found there was an increase in the number of people aged between 55 and 69 who were working - particularly among those who were working part-time - despite the recession, which was beginning at the time the data was collected.

People were most likely to retire early due to poor health, or because they were wealthy and belonged to a defined benefit pension scheme.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, of University College London's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, said: 'Food and fuel make up a considerable proportion of elderly people's budgets so any price increases tend to have a significant effect on those households.

'Spending on basics as a percentage of income can be used as a yardstick for welfare and the report shows that the poorest fifth of the population were 17 percentage points more likely to experience a substantial increase in the share of their income devoted to basics over this period than the richest fifth of the population.'

Article from Yorkshire Evening Post