Active Retirement Ireland criticises Budget 2020 as “overly conservative” and says the measures within “don’t go far enough to protect the most vulnerable”

Reacting to Budget 2020, Peter Kavanagh, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at the country’s largest older people’s organisation, Active Retirement Ireland, said: “This is a conservative budget, which many people would claim was necessary with the prospect of a No-Deal Brexit looming; but with the price of household goods set to rise in that eventuality, this Budget could have gone further to protect the most vulnerable in society.

“Each year older people are left anxious and unsure of their future incomes because this Government refuses to guarantee future pension levels. Despite providing for €1bn in the event of a No-Deal Brexit, there has been no increase the State Pension in line with the average weekly earnings. The modest increases in the Living Alone Allowance and Fuel Allowance does little alleviate the fact that older people will not be protected if prices rise because of Brexit. Older people with no prospect of future earnings will suffer the most in the long term.

“We need to see a commitment from the Government to make sure that our older people are supported to live fulfilled and healthy lives for as long as possible. The increase in home care hours from 18m to 19m is simply not enough.

“This budget was an opportunity to safeguard against the worst possible outcome of Brexit by protecting older people and making home care a real option for vulnerable people, but it falls far short of that aspiration.”

On the increase in Carbon Tax, Kavanagh was critical of the Government’s intentions.

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“Older people are well aware that behaviours have to change because of the Climate Emergency, but a carbon tax increase that is not ring fenced to help the most vulnerable in society adapt to the country’s needs as we face such a grave predicament, but taxation for taxation’s sake is regressive and ignores the fact that most pensioners can’t afford to make the changes necessary to help Ireland become carbon neutral”.

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