Archive for December, 2009

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Nollaig shona 2009

December 21, 2009

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Budget 2010 – News in Brief

December 18, 2009

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament has issued a special “News in Brief” outlining the impact of Budget 2010 on Older People.

Click here: News in Brief Budget 2010 to view / download the newsletter (pdf format).

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Budget 2010 & Older People

December 10, 2009

“Reaction to Budget 2010 is mixed as far as Older People are concerned” said Máiréad Hayes CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament today following the announcement of the Budget. “While the State Pension has not been touched per se, we must remember that Older People’s income has already been reduced by 2% by the withdrawal of the additional payment at Christmas” continued Ms Hayes.

“In addition we note that the new carbon tax will impact on vulnerable pensioners especially those 10% of Older People who are already living in fuel poverty. It is older people living alone, on low incomes, in older housing stock – which tends to be poorly insulated – that are currently struggling to heat their homes. It is these people that must be protected.

“Other Budget items impacting on Older People include the new 50c prescription charge. 96% of older people living alone are at risk of poverty, according to the CSO SILC (Survey on Income and Living Conditions) published two weeks ago. A previous Minister for Social Welfare indicated that the living alone allowance could be increased in the bad times – at times when the pension itself could not be increased, but this has not happened.”

“Taking the various cuts as a whole, Older People will see a fall in their income of approximately €600 per year, or 5% for someone relying on their state pension.”

“Older people do not live in a vacuum and are well aware of the financial realities – however the various cuts remind us that this is a long way from the promises in the current social partnership agreement ‘Towards 2016’”, concluded Ms Hayes.

AS GHAEILGE

Cáinfhaisnéis 2010 & Seanóirí

“Is fáilte meascaithe atá tuillte ag an gCáinfhaisnéis seo, ‘fhad ‘is a mbaineann sé le sean daoine na hÉireann” arsa Máiréad Hayes príomhoifigeach feidhmiúcháin Parlaimint Shaoránaigh Sinsearacha na hÉireann inniu i ndiaidh na cáinfhaisnéise. “Cé nár chuireadh isteach ar an phinsean stáit, caithfimid a thógáil san áireamh gur gearradh 2% ó ioncam lucht an phinsin níos luaithe i mbliana nuair a cuireadh deireadh le ‘bónas na Nollag’ a dúirt Ms Hayes. “Dar leis an The European Pensions Barometer Report tá an dara pinsean is measa san Aontas Eorpach anseo in Éirinn – céim amaháin os chomhair an Ríocht Aontaithe.”

Read the rest of this entry ?

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“On the last day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

December 8, 2009

Budget minus 1 – Tuesday 8 December

“On the last day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

€10 increase in pension

Dear Brian,

The vision in the current social partnership agreement “Towards 2016” is that “Every older person would have access to an income which is sufficient to sustain an acceptable standard of living.”

Over 50% of Older People in Ireland are dependent on the state pension as their main source of income. The European Pensions Barometer Report has highlighted that Ireland has the second worst state pension in the EU, coming only ahead of the UK. The report indicated that our pension equals 32.5% of the average working wage, while the average across Europe is 60%.

We recognise that times are hard and that the government faces difficult decisions ahead of the budget. But older people have worked hard all their lives and have paid taxes & are entitled to an adequate standard of living in their old age.

The McCarthy Report recommends that Social Welfare Rates should be decreased by 5%, due the reduction in the consumer price index. But the goods and services that have fallen are not the ones purchased by Older People – the cost of living for Older People has not been reduced.

We therefore call on the government to increase the pension by €10 per week. The withdrawal of the additional week’s payment in December has resulted in a 2% decrease in the average pension in 2009.

Yours sincerely

Ireland’s Older People

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“On the second day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

December 8, 2009

Budget minus 2 – Monday 7 December

“On the second day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

Take care of our Carers

Dear Brian,

Many Older People are full-time care givers and their role needs to be recognised in Budget 2010.

It has been estimated by the Carers Association that family carers are saving the

Government €2.5billion per year by providing over 192million hours of caring work per year. Family carers should be given the recognition they deserve together with adequate supports to assist them in their care giving roles.

We consider the abolition of the half rate carer’s allowance to be a retrograde step. We welcomed and praised its introduction and now urge that it continue to be paid.

We seek the abolition of the Means Test for family carers. Failing that, we seek an increase in the amount of disregard for personal savings up to €40,000. Further, the level of the Respite Care Grant should be increased to at least €2,000 for each care recipient and the number of respite facilities/care facilities increased.

The Parliament was disappointed at the decision not to publish the Carer’s Strategy and would like to see this strategy published immediately.

Yours sincerely

Ireland’s Older People

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“On the third day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

December 6, 2009

Budget minus 3 – Sunday 6 December

“On the third day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

Living alone / Over-80 increases

Dear Brian,

The Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice has shown that the cost of living alone equals 73% of the cost of living as a couple. The state helps the 26.7% of all people aged 65+ in Ireland who live alone by paying them a living alone increase amounting to €7.70 per week.

But this payment has not been increased since 1996 – in over 13 years. We are calling for this payment to be now increased to €18 per week.

This is an essential benefit – not only do we want to see it maintained but we feel that it should be increased to match the rise in the cost of living since 1996.

The Age Increase paid to those aged over 80 has not changed for a number of years and the Parliament is now calling for it to be increased from €10 to €15 per week. It should also be extended to a dependent spouse over 80 years of age.

Every small measure that keeps Older People healthy & out of hospitals and nursing homes will save the state money.

Yours sincerely

Ireland’s Older People

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“On the fourth day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

December 5, 2009

Budget minus 4 – Saturday 5 December

“On the fourth day before the budget, Older People asked of Brian …”

Carbon Tax relief

Dear Brian,

We are very concerned that the introduction of a carbon tax may only worsen the position of the 10% of older people who are already experiencing fuel poverty.

The Parliament is seeking assurances that measures to protect vulnerable older people will be introduced alongside any carbon taxes. We agree with the Commission’s proposal that revenues collected should be used to achieve improvement in the situation of the less well off.

We urge that this must include the less well off older people in Ireland. It is older people living alone, on low incomes, in older, poorly insulated housing that are currently struggling to heat their homes. It is these people that must be protected. A further tax on this segment of the community could result in deaths due to hypothermia this winter.

Of course a carbon tax would also affect older rural drivers. The proposal in the McCarthy report to cease state funding for the rural transport initiative – 58% of the passengers are aged 65 and over – would have a detrimental effect for many older people living in isolated areas.

The ISCP welcomed the extension of the fuel allowance from 30 weeks to 32 weeks and the increase to €20 per week.

Please increase the fuel allowance and restore the rural transport initiative.

Yours sincerely

Ireland’s Older People