(Monday 26 September 2022) A nominal increase of €12 on the rate of the full contributory State Pension [from €253.30 to €265.30] would leave older persons €11.68 per week worse off than they were in terms of the spending power of the State Pension in January 2022 says Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation on ageing and older persons, reacting to reports that the Government intends to increase the State Pension by €12 in Budget 2023.
Nat O’Connor, policy specialist with Age Action said “A €12 increase in the State Pension is effectively a cut in the living standards of older people because, in annual terms, it means people are €609 worse off in a year compared to January 2022 due to inflation. That means a loss of 5% of their incomes’ spending power in just one year.”
“Many older persons were already struggling. Even before the cost of living crisis, the pension did not guarantee people comfort or security. This is especially true for older persons living alone and for the many people, particularly women, who do not get a full rate pension. Older persons are especially sensitive to the price of food or energy, which is a larger part of their weekly expenses than for other households. Our survey of older persons in July showed that 25% of respondents did not have sufficient income to meet their basic needs, and 27% of people said they were going without heating, and that was in July. This loss of income means a struggle to buy home heating oil or to get a car serviced. It is causing older persons around the country to turn off their heating and to reduce their travel, because petrol and diesel are so expensive” Dr O’Connor continued.
“In many cases, the State Pension may be a person’s only income. It is important to recall that only two-thirds get a full rate State Pension, and only one-third benefit from Fuel Allowance, which therefore cannot replace the loss of core income for most older persons. The struggles older people are facing now are at risk of becoming the new normal. This can only be avoided if Budget 2023 adapts to the reality that price inflation requires welfare incomes to keep pace. These are not ordinary times, and Budget 2023 cannot be an ordinary budget. Older persons need €23 on the weekly pension to retain the same spending power in January that they had one year previously.” Dr O’Connor concluded.