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Jeff becomes a trainee pensioner

Reporter Jeff Bolitho has spent a week tasting life as a pensioner on the breadline as his newspaper set him the challenge of surviving on £67.50 a week.

The Torquay Herald Express is running an active Justice for Pensioners campaign.

Coupons appear regularly in the newspaper asking readers to sign up if they believe pensions should be relinked to average earnings – not inflation – and pensioners should be treated with dignity. So far, 4,660 readers have sent the forms in.

The “low-cost “basics” line of his local supermarket was a lifeline for Jeff when he tackled the weekly shopping.

He had already deducted £20 for rent and £25.78 for a week’s contribution to household bills.

His modest food shopping accounted for another £11.45 – leaving him £10.27 to spend for the rest of the week.

Jeff tried his luck with a £1 lottery ticket – but didn’t get anywhere – and he joined other pensioners at a bingo session, but declined to risk any more of his money on a game.

A welcome roast dinner was provided for pensioners at a local pub for £2.50.

Jeff said: “Pensioners must struggle to be able to do anything during the week apart from stay in and watch the telly. And as the winter nights begin to draw in, increased heating bills will be another burden.”

He added: “I’m not surprised that many try to find part-time jobs to top-up their income, although it seems unfair that they should have to work in their retirement.”

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