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Budget 2016 – Age Action reaction

Published 13/10/2015

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Age Action has reacted to today’s budget announcement, welcoming the first increase in the State Pension in seven years and increases in other income supports. But the organisation also highlighted the lack of progress on home supports and the failure to cut prescription charges.

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications, said: “Since 2009 an older person on the State Pension and Household Benefits Package has seen their weekly income cut by more than €13 a week. Almost a hundred thousand older people are living in deprivation.

“All of that cannot be fixed at once and what we have seen in Budget 2016 is a substantial step in the right direction.

“The first State Pension increase in seven years, welcome increases in the Christmas Bonus and the Fuel Allowance, will make a real difference to older people across the country.

More needs to be done

“But more needs to be done. Older people are still facing real hardship. We’re disappointed not to have heard anything so far about restoring the Telephone Allowance and particularly disappointed to have heard nothing yet on prescription charges. 

“These have risen 500 per cent since they were introduced and hit older people, who might have multiple prescriptions, particularly hard. It’s simply a tax on sick people.

“But overall, today we are moving in the right direction with some welcome announcements. It’s important that the next government keeps up the momentum.”

Fair Deal

Referring to the Government’s announcement on increased funding for the Fair Deal Scheme to keep waiting lists to four weeks, Mr Moran added: “Waiting lists for Fair Deal hit 15 weeks last October.

“Funding to keep waiting times to four weeks is undoubtedly welcome, but we would also need increased investment in home care and home helps.

“Given the choice, older people prefer to stay at home in their community, with their family, rather than go into a nursing home. The home supports that would enable thousands of them to do so are not there and the Government must prioritise this area.”

For more information contact Justin Moran on 087 968 2449

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Did Budget 2020 Take Steps Towards a Fairer Society for an Ageing Population?

 

The Government's Budget 2020 choices did not include measures to address the inequalities faced by older people living in Ireland who are family members and contributors to our communities. Budget 2020 did not offer the majority of older people the support they need to meet the rising cost of living that is anticipated by the impacts of Brexit and it did not offer a concrete plan to support us to age in place.

 

Equality for older people requires the re-distribution of resources; power and influence; status and standing; and respect.  While the Government has increased some secondary benefits with the view to targeting people in the most vulnerable situations, which is a sensible approach, it has to be acknowledged that if people had adequate income to meet the true cost of ageing, they would be able to have choice over how to spend their money to best meet their specific needs.

The net affect of Budget 2020 on the income of older person headed households is;

  • Those under 80 and living with another person are €1.08 better off per week following Budget 2020 and have seen a weekly increase of €11.68 since 2009

 

  • For those under 80 and living alone, they are €6.08 better off per week following Budget 2020, and have seen a weekly increase of €20.48 on 2009 income

 

  • For those over 80 and living with another person, their weekly income has risen by €1.08 in Budget 2020, and €11.68 since 2009

 

  • For those over 80 and living alone, they are better off by €6.08 per week following Budget 2020, and €20.48 since 2009.

 

Some people who are over 80 are people in the most vulnerable situations in our society with no capacity to increase their income while dealing with the increasing cost of ageing. A person over 80, not living alone, received €1.08 per week to cope with Brexit, the carbon tax increase and the rising cost of living in 2020. It is on the backs of these people that our economy has been built: these are the same women and men who lived through the Marriage Bar, shouldered several recessions and are now dealing with the accumulated disadvantages. In working for equality, it is critical that we focus on equality of outcomes not just equality of opportunity.