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Older people demand Budget pension increase

Age Action is calling for the first increase in the State Pension since 2009 in Budget 2016.

The organisation, representing thousands of older people across Ireland, today set out its top five priorities for next month’s budget.

Budget 2016 | Age Action
Age Action has put forward its submissions for Budget 2016

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “Since 2009 an older person depending on the State Pension and the Household Benefits package has seen their income cut by more than €13 a week.

“They’re struggling to pay new taxes along with rising fuel and health costs. Pensioners in this country should not be forced to choose between paying for medicine and keeping the heat on.”

During the summer Age Action members across the country met and highlighted their priorities for this year’s budget:

  • Increase the State Pension by €5
  • Increase the Living Alone Allowance by €2.40
  • Restore the Telephone Allowance over the next two budgets
  • An additional €26 million for Home Help Services
  • An additional €7 million for 550 Home Care Packages

Justin Moran continued: “Older people spent a lifetime building this country. They shouldered their share of the burden of austerity.

“As the economy returns to growth, they have a legitimate expectation that the sacrifices they made will be acknowledged.

“After years of cuts to income supports for older people, next month’s budget is an opportunity to restore value to a stagnant State Pension and to reverse cuts to vital income supports like the Telephone Allowance.”

Home supports

Age Action also highlighted the need for investment in supports to enable older people to remain longer in their homes.

Since 2009 there has been a substantial reduction in home help hours despite the number of people aged 85 and over increasing by 11 per cent in the last three years.

Justin Moran continued: “In recent years there has been a 44 per cent increase in the number of older people in nursing homes categorised as ‘low dependency’ by the HSE.

“More home and community supports would enable many of these people to stay at home longer. That’s a better outcome for older people, it’s in line with Government policy and it would help to reduce the cost of the Nursing Home Support Scheme.” 

Along with its key priorities, Age Action also published detailed submissions it made to a number of individual government departments.

Age Action Budget 2016 Submission

Individual Submissions to Government Departments

STOP67 calls for inclusion of advocates for women and older people on Pensions Commission

(13 November) The STOP67 Coalition has expressed its disappointment at the failure of the Government to appoint sufficient members to the Pensions Commission who reflect the interests of those most affected by the proposed pension age increase and, in particular, organisations representing women and older people. The Coalition includes the National Women’s Council (NWC), SIPTU, Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland.

In a letter to An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, the Coalition said it was “shocked and surprised” that the Commission does not include the representatives of so many of those directly affected by the proposed pension age increase. This followed the announcement by the Government of the members of the Commission, which is due to assess whether the pension age should be increased to 67 years and to set out a future plan for the pension system.