Dublin, 26th September: In light of the Budget to be announced tomorrow, ALONE is reiterating their calls for an increase in the pension of at least €20.
The charity which enables older people to age at home says that the Budget this year has the potential to support older people through the worst impacts of inflation if the right decisions are taken, and says that “€10 on the pension is not enough”.
The Roadmap for Social Inclusion committed to introducing benchmarking of the State Pension by Budget 2021. Today, it has still not been completed. A benchmark to the Pension of 34% of average wages would require an increase of more than €40 to the pension. ALONE have called for this benchmark to be introduced over two years, beginning with an increase of at least €20 this year and a similar increase next year.
If the benchmark had been introduced as committed to in 2019, older people would not be struggling so significantly today with the increases in the cost of living. More than 100,000 older people are at risk of or live in consistent poverty in Ireland today.
“This needs to be a Budget for older people and retirees, as well as a Budget for families and workers,” said a spokesperson for the charity.
Considerations are reportedly still ongoing as to whether social welfare payments will be increased by €10 or €15 in today’s Budget.
ALONE’s Budget 2023 submission recommendations include;
· Increase the State Pension by at least €20 this year and next year, to meet commitments to benchmark the Pension
The Roadmap for Social Inclusion committed to introducing benchmarking of the State Pension by Budget 2019. Today, it has still not been completed. If it had, older people would not be struggling so significantly today with the increases in the cost of living.
· Set the Fuel Allowance season to 35-weeks and increase by €20 per week to minimise the impact of energy inflation and energy supplier increases.
· Commit to benchmarking the Living Alone Allowance to one quarter of the State Pension, and increase by €20 per week, as older people living alone (and particularly those living in rural areas) are particularly vulnerable to poverty.
· Update, fund and implement the National Positive Ageing Strategy, which has not been funded since it was introduced more than ten years ago.
· Establish Terms of Reference for the Commission on Care as committed to in the Programme for Government, and which has seen substantial delays.
· Resource the Home Support Scheme to meet increased demand in light of the upcoming Statutory Home Support Scheme.
· Review reopening of day care centres nationwide as roughly 50 remain closed post-COVID.
· Address loneliness among the general population, as committed to in the Programme for Government, and provide funding of €5 million, in light of increased loneliness post-COVID.
· Fully implement and fund actions relating to the Joint Policy Statement, Housing Options for our Ageing Population, and reconvene the implementation group in light of a significant number of actions left incomplete.
· Develop a long term plan for housing for older people, including those in the private rental sector.
· Undertake a full review of the Local Authority Housing Delivery Action Plans, in the context of providing age-friendly social housing.
· Deliver choice in housing for older people and funding mechanisms to provide Housing with Supports
· Increase funding of Housing Adaptation Grants for older people to €84.5 million annually and commit to multi-annual increases