The number of elderly people who do not claim their state pension has risen to nearly 98,000. That is 9% of those eligible, and it has increased since the end of last year.
The proportion of eligible OAPs claiming the pension fell across the country from 99% in November 2014 to 97% in May 2015. And these latest figures show that in London it is now down to just 91% from 93% in the same period.
This highest level of non-claimants is in the traditionally wealthy central boroughs, which may suggest that they feel that they have sufficient money so do not need the state pension.
Data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that in the Kensington and Chelsea and in Westminster fewer than three quarters of eligible over 65s are receiving their state pension. The claim rate is below 80% in two other areas, Camden and the City of London.
But the rate of pension recipients has fallen across the capital. The only boroughs with the same proportion as the national rate are the outer areas of Havering, Bexley and Bromley.
Pensions data underlines a tale of two Londons. The city may have the highest level of pensioners not claiming their entitlement, but it also has the highest rate in Great Britain of pensioners who are getting additional support through pension credits.
Pension credits are paid to those who have very low income, and as a reward to those who have modest savings or a small private pension to supplement their state income.
The latest data from the Department for Work and Pensions shows that 14% of over 60s across Britain receive a credit. That’s down 1% on last November. The rate has fallen by a similar proportion in London as well, but it is still at nearly 19%. The North East is the closest to London, but rates are significantly lower in all other regions.
The highest rate of pension credit claimants is in Tower Hamlets where 38.5% of over 60s are getting this support. Yet Tower Hamlets has the fifth lowest rate of pension recipients in the capital with 14% not claiming. This perhaps demonstrates the gap between rich and poor in the borough that contains both deprived areas and the wealth of Canary Wharf.
Other boroughs with high rates of pension credit claims are Hackney with 35% and Newham with 33%. Only Richmond and the City of London have lower than 10%.