Pension benefits: Christmas Bonus unchanged since 1972 could now be worth more than £130

Surging energy and fuel costs push inflation to near-decade high

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Pension benefits help many retired people keep up with their living expenses, and this is never more important than during the winter months. Unfortunately for pensioners, despite consistent increases in inflation pushing up the cost of living, many of the winter benefits available to them have not been upratred for years.

The most blatant example of this is the Christmas Bonus, which has been worth just £10 since it was first introduced in 1972.

The Christmas Bonus is a one-off, tax-free payment made before Christmas to people who get certain benefits, such as the state pension.

If it had been regularly increased in line with inflation, the Christmas Bonus could be worth much more than £10 today.

To put things into perspective, the CPI Inflation Calculator states that £100 in 1972 is worth £1,385.76 today.

By that logic, the £10 Christmas Bonus would be worth £138.58 if it had been uprated.

That means the bonus could be almost 14 times more than it actually is at present.

Recipients of the Christmas Bonus should already have been automatically paid, and it may have shown up as ‘DWP XB’ on their bank statement.

However, anyone who believes they should have got the bonus, but did not receive it, should get in touch with the Pension Service or the Jobcentre Plus office that deals with their payments.

Figures published by the Statista Research Department have broken down the average Christmas spend in the UK per head.

The average spend across the 12 regions analysed was £1,207.50. People in London spent the most on average, with a whopping £1,746 spent per head in the capital.

The South East region came in second, with an average spend of £1,469. This was followed by the East of England in third place, spending £1,341 on average.

Scotland came in just above the UK average and took fourth place, spending £1,218.

This is considerably more than Northern Ireland and Wales, which ranked 10th and 11th respectively.

People in Northern Ireland spent an average of £1,038, while in Wales the average spend was £1,023.

The region which spent the least on Christmas on average was the North East, spending just under £1,000 at £994.

There is a stark contrast between the region spending the most and the least, with Londoners spending £751 more on average than those in the North East.

Using this data and adjusting for inflation, it is possible to gauge an estimate as to how much Christmas would have cost in previous years.

Going all the way back to 1950, based on the current average spend of £1,207.50, the same Christmas would have cost just £33.55, according to the CPI Inflation Calculator.

This would have jumped to £49.92 ten years later in 1960, and again to £74.33 by 1970.

The increase between 1970 and a decade later was a massive one, more than tripling to £268.12 by 1980.

The cost increased to £505.84 in 1990, almost double the 1980 mark, before an increase to £683.06.

Just over a decade ago in 2010, the average Christmas today would have been worth £896.68.

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