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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

Raising the Roof - Homes for All Ages

Raise the Roof Rally for Housing 18 May

Preparing to Raise the Roof

Age Action, motivated by intergenerational solidarity, is joining the Raise the Roof campaign to tackle the continuing housing crisis that is affecting people of all ages.  People are being mobilised through trade unions and community organisations, to stage a major national rally on the housing crisis under the banner of Raise the Roof, in Dublin on Saturday May 18.

When people take an interest in what is happening in their local community, seek solutions to problems and initiate improvements they are being active citizens. Community is the foundational building block of society and housing is fundamental to community. Ireland’s housing crisis is rightly dominating public discourse as it undermines our ability to live with dignity as part of a community.  Ireland’s changing demographic brings with it a changing demand for homes that meet the needs of an ageing population.

The Government’s failure to deliver on a whole of Government approach to ageing and provide good quality social housing to meet demand has resulted in older people feeling subjected to negative, ageist language about their needs and wishes for suitable housing and health supports as is evidenced in the narrative on ‘down-sizing’ or ‘right-sizing’.

In the 60s and 70s the State implemented policies to support owner occupation of housing. People on lower incomes were able to buy their own homes which went some way to addressing wealth inequalities. According to Professor Tony Fahey, writing in Social Justice Ireland’s book ‘From Here to Where?’, by the year 2000 even low-income households owned substantial housing wealth and were less disadvantaged by inequalities in housing wealth than they were by inequalities in income.

Most of the growing population of young private renters today grew up in homes that were owned by their parents. Prof Fahey identified the essential features of secure long-term housing as being affordable, and having secure tenure. As he says, “today’s private rented housing has neither of these features”.

Looking at the future needs of an ageing population, for those aged 50-54 almost 10% were renting from private landlords at the time of Census 2016. It can be assumed that these people will continue in the rental market beyond their working years which leaves them in a vulnerable situation.

We encourage any and all of you who can to be active citizens and march with us on Saturday May 18 in a show of intergenerational solidarity. We will be gathering at 1pm at Parnell Square. You will find us behind an Age Action banner. At 2pm we will march down O'Connell Street towards Custom House Quay and join the Rally for Housing (location to be confirmed) by 3pm.

For more information about the campaign visit www.raisetheroof.ie

 

 

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