As the Government meet to finalise plans for cost of living supports, the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament call for targeted measures for those living on the state pension. However welcome the one-off measures are in light of energy bills, this is not a long-term solution. People living on an income that cannot meet the on-going day to day costs of food, heat and light, not to mention the cost of a car which is a necessity if you live in rural Ireland, require a more long-term solution
In the last Budget, the Government were aware that a minimum increase of €20 was needed to ensure that people dependent on the State Pension did not fall below the poverty line. They now need to adjust the pension to reflect this shortfall. The €1.2 billion allocated for untargeted energy support payments might be better spent on core social transfers.
We understand that the cost-of-living increases affect all people however, the ability to meet the rising costs is not universal. While it is very difficult for some, it does not present the challenge of ‘eating or heating’. For people living on the state pension of €265.30, there is no capacity to save for ‘rainy days’ or savings to meet the unprecedented energy bills.
In the light of well publicised profits for energy companies while people on a state pension struggle to meet energy bills, the need to address the inequality is crucial. This coupled with the Oxfam Report on Wealth require an immediate action. This includes the considerations on a Wealth Tax and/or windfall tax on energy providers and oil companies. The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament support the call from Social Justice Ireland for action on this issue.