A study shows quality of life and living standards have dropped for everyone, but the worst affected are those over 50.
The figures were released as the Office of National Statistics disclosed the consumer price index (CPI) increased to 4.5% in April from 4.0% in March.
Statisticians blame rising inflation on the timing of the Easter holidays for some of the increase, as travel firms and air lines boost their prices to coincide with the holidays.
Air transport was cited as one of the main inflation drivers, along with alcohol, tobacco and gas.
The retail price index (RPI) – which differs from the CPI by including housing costs – stands at 5.2% for April – a slight fall of 0.1% from March.
The Saga study revealed that financial problems are making the over 50s slash spending on treats and luxuries, with four out of 10 eating less in restaurants (41%), driving less (40%), and buying fewer takeaway meals (47%) than 12 months ago.
Personal treats are disappearing from budgets as well, as many (38%) have stopped buying clothes and one in four have cut cosmetics and hairdressing.
The study is Saga’s second quarterly report on the lifestyles of the UK’s 21 million over 50s.
Dr Ros Altmann, Saga’s director general, said: “Financial burdens for the over 50s have worsened in the past three months with living costs soaring. We are witnessing a significant decline in discretionary spending. This has worrying implications for the whole economy and could mean less consumer demand and less job creation for the young.
“Despite these hardships, the over 50s are trying to remain positive and stoical as proved by the stability in their overall happiness since January.”
Only those approaching 70 years old showed any lifestyle improvement with Saga putting this down to many continuing work and earn extra money after the scrapping of the default retirement age of 65 years old.
More than half of the age group (56%) are concerned about the cost of living, ahead of worries about health (27%), family health (21%) or crime (17%).
Meanwhile, another monthly study of inflation by savings provider Alliance Trust confirmed those aged between 50 and 64 are suffering a higher rate of inflation than the rest of the population – at 5.1%.
Around two-thirds of the over 50s want the Bank of England to increase interest rates to help them earn more from savings.
Alliance Trust puts this down to this age group spending the most money on transport, alcohol and tobacco
The same study puts inflation effects on the over 75s at 4.8%. Their spending is boosted by low food prices, but gas price hikes have hit them hard.
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