The budget: The view from older people

Age UK class in Whitley Bay
Age UK class in Whitley Bay Photo: ITV News

In a centre on North Tyneside, a group of older people are aiming to stay fit. They're attending a strength and balance class run by the charity Age UK. Each week, members spend an hour on stretching, bending and turning exercises, in an effort to stay healthy.

After rising prices and falling interest rates, the group members don't feel their finances are quite as robust. One comments that it's a choice between eating and heating. She and her husband had expected to go for regular drives in their retirement, but they now have to think twice before jumping in the car. Another says it's unfair that he has to pay income tax, despite being retired for 17 years and living on a modest income.

Across the River Tyne in South Shields, Jean Turnbull says staying warm is her biggest worry. She relies on a state pension and other benefits to live. She is grateful for her £200 Winter Fuel Allowance but says that doesn't solve her money worries.

Sometimes if it is cold and you're down to your last pennies, I go to bed and I sit up in bed with a blanket on."

– Jean Turnbull

Jean would like to see a rise in the Winter Fuel Allowance in this year's budget, but she is realistic about what the Chancellor can offer in the current economic climate. Instead she wonders if the government could prevent fuel prices rising beyond a certain level, in an effort to help older people like herself.

Back at the fitness class, members say they simply want the government to know what it's like for ordinary people to juggle their finances to make ends meet. They are hoping for some relief in Wednesday's budget.