Pension must be increased to reflect the cost of living
Responding to continued kite flying by the Government parties on Budget 2022, Labour spokesperson on social welfare Seán Sherlock said social welfare increases must reflect the cost of living. Noting the increased uncertainty people are facing this winter, Deputy Sherlock said priority must be given to the most vulnerable in society.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“The constant kite flying by this government on Budget 2022 is very unfair to people – they should know it causes alarm and concern. After a hard year for all, what people want is some certainty. I am deeply concerned to read reports that there may be no increase to the pension this year. It is not helpful for Government to release these reports without providing clearer assurances or solutions to be people, but it would be mean-fisted and unfair to deny increases to people’s pensions this year, particularly given the increased cost of living in Ireland. Our pensioners cannot be short-changed in Budget 2022 and I am calling on the Government to think long and hard about any decision on pension increases.
“As well as the cost of living, there will be a massive rise in the cost of heating homes this winter. Blackouts are something that has been mooted by Government and remains a very real cause of concern. Government must provide certainty that the increased prices in energy costs to customers will not result in disconnections that would compound matters. We need to see any energy increases met by increases in fuel allowances and in the Household Benefits package especially. We must focus on ensuring those most vulnerable to energy disconnections are not left in the dark.
“To leave pensioners without an increase this year would fly in the face of everything the Government spoke about during the pandemic. These are among the most vulnerable, those that we asked to cocoon and miss many moments and memories throughout the past year and a half. Coming out of the pandemic, into a post-Covid Ireland, we must build back fairer. We must ensure that the most vulnerable social welfare recipients, like our pensioners, receive an increase that reflects the increased cost of living in Ireland. These people have worked hard, paid their taxes and contributed to society all their lives. The State cannot abandon them now.
“We simply cannot fail our pensioners. We need to provide certainty to pensioners and those reaching retirement age in Budget 2022. At a time of rising costs, those on fixed incomes will have to survive on less. Government cannot let this happen to the most vulnerable in our society.”