Edinburgh over-50s have best standard of living in UK

Edinburgh is the place to be for over 50s.
Edinburgh is the place to be for over 50s.
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THE Capital’s over-50s enjoy the best standard of living of any major UK city, new research has found.

Residents here have the highest annual household income, the lowest unemployment rate and enhanced potential for social activity, according to a survey of nearly 900 people carried out by insurance provider RIAS.

Edinburgh also ranked second top for combined pension value, at £120,532, and with £524 a month, older people here have the third-highest disposable income.

However, the Capital’s cost of living was underlined by figures showing monthly household outgoings are £1191 - significantly ahead of the £1116 UK average.

Pensioner Mary McNaughton, 75, from Polwarth, said the findings chimed with her experience of forging a career in the Edinburgh post office, which led to her appointment as a senior manager for south-east Scotland.

And she said the Capital’s rich social and cultural offering meant an excellent quality of life.

She said: “I was brought up to love the city with all its opportunities, natural beauty and good schools.

“It’s a small city – there are poor people but also a lot of wealthy people. Everyone had an equal opportunity regardless of the school that they came from.

“I was able to retire from the post office at the age of 50 and I have an excellent pension, and then I have my state pension.”

She added: “Edinburgh has the status of a capital city, which I think makes it different from other cities - it’s a city of opportunity and there’s always plenty going on.

“There are lots of things to do here. You could not be bored in Edinburgh and you do not have to spend a fortune to keep yourself entertained.

“But I think I’m part of the lucky generation - we had a beginning and a future, and I’m not sure the next generation has.”

In a reversal of the north-south economic divide, Yorkshire also did well, with two of its cities – Leeds and Sheffield – included in the top five.

But despite being less than 50 miles away from the Capital, Glasgow ranked near the bottom of the index, with older residents in Scotland’s biggest city having the lowest average disposable income at £360.

Peter Corfield, managing director at RIAS, said strong household finances and good pensions had been key factors in Edinburgh’s emergence as a great place to live for those aged over 50.

And he suggested cities with robust labour markets would also mean higher quality of life for residents who want to continue working into old age.

“The next few months will see a big change in the over-50s landscape with greater pension freedoms becoming available,” he added.

“While the size of people’s pension pots can have a big influence on their overall standard of living, it is important to remember other factors such as employment rates, as the over-50s continue to contribute in the work place later in life.”

Figures showing Edinburgh’s over-50s are best off in Britain come amid sweeping national changes to pension rules which will give savers more control.

The shake-up is one of the Westminster government’s biggest reforms, allowing people who have saved do what they want with their money.

Announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his March budget, it means people who are retiring no longer have to buy an annuity to provide a fixed, regular income.