Active Retirement Ireland, the country’s largest representative organisation for older people, has cautiously welcomed today’s Budget, but says it falls short in protecting older people against the cost-of-living crisis.
According to the charity, the increase in the weekly state pension is welcome, however the winter fuel allowance will not go far enough for older people after two increases in gas and electricity costs in 2022 alone.
Reacting to the Budget announcement, Maureen Kavanagh, CEO of Active Retirement Ireland, said: “The €12 weekly increase in the state pension, while below the rate of inflation, is still a welcome measure. However, for many older people the winter fuel allowance will not go far enough as they struggle to manage their tight household budgets. The fuel allowance would need to be doubled if it was to have any real impact on the day-to-day lives of our older people.
“Similarly, we welcome the scrapping of hospital inpatient charges, but this doesn’t go far enough for the most vulnerable. We need to see the charge for blood tests and prescription costs scrapped in order to make healthcare more affordable.
“While the tax credit for renters is a welcome initiative, it is putting pensioners who rent at risk of being frozen out of the rental market. This small but growing number of older renters will be left behind unless specific measures are implemented to help them. “Overall, we welcome the increases in welfare payments and the additional payments to certain pensioners, but Budget 2023 is falling short for our older people who deserve to live with security, independence and dignity.”