Nearly 75,000 elderly people in London are not claiming their state pension. That’s 7% of the people eligible and a unique London phenomenon as claimant rates elsewhere are 99 or 100% and only in the South East of England does it fall below that, to 98%.
The majority of non-claimants are in traditionally wealthy boroughs, which may suggest that they feel no need of the benefit or that an itinerant lifestyle means it is difficult for them to claim it.
Data from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that in the Kensington and Chelsea only three quarters of eligible over 65s are receiving their pension, in Westminster it is 77%, in Camden 80% and in the City of London 81%. Through most of central London the proportion is a little over 90%. Only the outer boroughs of Havering and Bromley have the national rate of 99%.
While London has the highest level of pensioners who don’t receive a state pension, it also has the highest proportion in the country of pensioners receiving a pension credit.
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. 15% of OAPs across the UK receive a credit. In London it is nearly 20%.
The breakdown by borough underlines the divide between rich and poor across the capital, and some of the variation within boroughs. As the map above shows, Tower Hamlets has 9% of its pensioner not claiming a pension. But as the map below shows, it also has 40% on pension credits.
The borough includes some deprived areas but also the sparkling skyscrapers and riverside flats of Canary Wharf. In the neighbouring boroughs of Hackney and Newham 35% or more are receiving pension credit. In Richmond and the City of London it is under 10%.