(Tuesday 10 October 2023) Reacting to the Budget 2024 announcements, Age Action’s spokesperson said:
“Many older persons will be relieved to see that the state pension has gone up more than just a fiver. However, a €12 per week increase does not replace all the lost spending power since 2020. The core rate of the pension would need to be increased by a further €19, on top of the €12, to have the same spending power it had in 2020.
One in three older people living alone is at risk of poverty, nearly two thirds more since 2020, so it is a real concern that the Living Alone supplement was not increased in this budget. There is a once-off payment of €200 for older people living alone, but when that money is used up, the weekly income of many people living alone will once again be inadequate to meet their basic needs. This is the second year in a row that the Living Alone increase has not been touched. The Government framed this budget as helping those most disadvantaged by the cost of living crisis, but older persons living alone, two thirds of whom are women, should have been targeted as a group most in need.
Seven in ten older persons rely on social protection for more than half their income, including three in ten who get 90% or more of their income from social protection. The state pension is meant to be the ‘bedrock’ of income in older age, but its spending power has been eroded since 2020, which increases uncertainty. Ireland is the only Eurozone country that does not benchmark its state pension to inflation or wages, and Ireland should fulfil the longstanding promise of benchmarking the state pension at 34% of average earnings.
Age Action welcomes the creation of the Future Ireland Fund that recognises our changing demographics and which we hope will support us all to age well. It is a sensible development, but Age Action will be examining the full detail when this is available.”