‘Targeted measures needed to support older people,’ says ALONE
The organisation is calling on the government to introduce targeted measures to support low-income households
May 2022: ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age at home, has today called for government to introduce targeted measures in the next cost of living package. The call comes as a number of energy suppliers have increased prices, while the latest CSO Consumer Price Index for March was nearly 7 per cent.
While the government previously introduced measures to support households to deal with the increased cost of living, ALONE is highlighting that older people are still struggling today. The organisation says that it has listened to older people explain how they are cutting back on meals, worrying about the next bill arriving and wearing extra layers of clothes to keep warm during the day.
Speaking on the cost of living, CEO Seán Moynihan said, “We have concerns about the cost of living and its impact on the older people we work with. Older people have told us that they are cutting back on meals, having smaller portions. In one case, an older person using the reduced price food section in a store had to be admitted to hospital for food poising.
“There continues to be an increase in the cost of energy, and this is impacting older people as well. One older person is paying her electricity bill in instalments by using their Living Alone Allowance, people are living week to week. An older couple is having to wear extra clothes around their home, they don’t have the heating on during the day because they are worried for the next bill to arrive.
“The cost of living is becoming extremely difficult for older people, particularly as they are reliant on the State Pension, which is currently below the poverty line. ALONE is calling on the government to introduce a package of measures that are targeted and that will help those in energy poverty.”
ALONE is calling on the government to implement the following:
· Implement the commitment to benchmark the State Pension
· Introduce a temporary means-tested Basic Food Allowance at €25 per week to cover basic food items like bread, milk, eggs, cheese, fruit and vegetables to low-income households
· Widen the eligibility criteria for the Fuel Allowance to ensure more households in fuel poverty can avail of the scheme
· Ring-fence all revenue raised from the Carbon Tax towards a Just Transition Plan
· Prioritise low-income households in fuel poverty for retrofitting