€3 per week on the state pension will not reverse the desperate situation pensioners find themselves in
In a statement People Before Profit has said that the increase of €3 per week to the state pension is nothing more than a pittance and a drop in the ocean in regards to reversing the dire circumstances that pensioners in this country find themselves in.
Over successive budgets in the life time of this government pensioners have seen their pensions cut, home help hours reduced by 600,000 hours and removal of the phone allowance. According to Alone pensioners are now €700 worse off per year than in 2008.
Cllr John Lyons of People Before Profit said: “It is disgraceful to see the government patting themselves on the back as if this was a successful budget. The reality is that for pensioners this budget will not reverse the desperate situation that they find themselves in. A rise of €3 per week is an affront to the people who have worked all their lives and given great service to this country.
“The fact is that over the last five regressive budgets pensioners have been dealt the cruelest of blows and the tiny increase in the state pension will be meaningless at the end of the day when water charges, the local property tax and the increasing cost of living are taken into account within the context of the multiple cuts that pensioners have endured. Age Action has said that an older person relying on the state pension and household benefit package have seen their income cut by €13 a week since 2009. Budget 2016 did very little to reverse this.
“What should have seen on budget day was the restoration of the telephone allowance, full restoration of the Christmas bonus, an increase of the living alone allowance, a restoration of the fuel allowance to 2008 levels, an increase the state pension by €5 per week, the reinstatement of home help hours in full and the abolition of prescription charges.
“Pensioners in this country are now €700 worse off per year, according to Alone. This is unacceptable. It is a hallmark of this government that they have attacked the most vulnerable in this society over the last number of budgets, in this case pensioners. What is disgraceful is that in this budget they have given them as little back as possible and act as if they are champions of the elderly.
“It really shows what kind of society the government are willing to stand over. They are willing to cut the benefits of the most vulnerable in our society, people who have shaped this country. These are the people we need to protect. We need to look after our pensioners and this government is not doing that.”