Budget – ALONE calls for pension increases and urgent investment in services

by Gazette Reporter
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ALONE has called on the government  to make urgent investments now in Budget 2024 that will make Ireland a country that is fair and just to our older population  into the future.

In ‘One Million and Counting’,  the charity for older people calls fort benchmarking of the State pension, increase the rates of telephone support allowance, living alone allowance and fuel allowance, and to commit funding to policy areas including loneliness, home care, housing with support, housing adaptation grants and combating energy poverty.

ALONE also released the results of their annual pre-budget survey, which was answered by the older people ALONE work with.

Respondents to the survey reported a variety of issues such as having spent their life insurance to pay bills in their home, only eating once a day to cut back on food costs, their biggest worry being heating their home, and worrying if they would have enough money to see them through the rest of their lives.  

Four hundred and sixty people responded to the survey, which showed:

·        75% of respondents said they have been impacted or severely impactedby the cost-of-living crisis.

·        More than half of respondents (55%) find it difficult to pay their bills.

·        Heating and energy costs are the most worrying costs for older people ALONE are working with, followed by household maintenance costs, food prices, healthcare costs and transport.

NO FEE PICTURES 25/6/23 13th ALONE has provided the government with recommendations to prepare for an ageing population in their Pre-Budget Submission. ALONE calls for pension increases and urgent investment in servicesto protect the one million Irish people over 60. Pictured at the photocall at Government Buildings are: Pictures: Arthur Carron

·        Changes that respondents believe would help them most in the budget were, in the following order; Increase of State pension, increase of the fuel allowance and increase in the Living Alone Allowance.

ALONE CEO Seán Moynihan said: “One in five older people are living in poverty today, and older people living alone are particularly at risk. This has nearly doubled in a year. The recently published Census results show that there are now more than 1 million people aged 60+ living in Ireland. As our population ages, Ireland needs action about the living standards being experienced by older people today, and the standards we want to see for all of us as we grow older, before we reach a crisis point.”

He continued: “We cannot afford to wait to make strategic and capital investments in services and supports for older people. We need strategic action now and not annual token amounts of money, to address the standards of living being experienced by our growing ageing population. Government officials talk about putting corporation tax receipts away for a rainy day, but if we don’t make choices now, we will simply not be able to meet the housing and health needs of older people in the future. Every year we lose out to other priorities but this year we need action. “

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