“Around 427,000 households in the over-70 age groups are already in financial difficulty; either three months behind with a debt repayment or subject to some form of debt action such as insolvency,” says Una Farrell of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).

The recession has undoubtedly taken its toll, and a shrinking jobs market will have caught out many who were keen to continue working, but inflation is the real sting in the tail. Retirees spend a large portion of their income on food and bills, the price of which is rapidly outstripping the rate of inflation.

As a result, pensioners have seen their cost of living rocket, so that even those who have managed to accrue decent savings are watching the real value of their cash erode to breaking point.