Cuts to household benefits for older people slammed

LAOIS-OFFALY Deputy Brian Stanley is to seek an adjournment of the Dáil to discuss the proposed cuts to fuel,

LAOIS-OFFALY Deputy Brian Stanley is to seek an adjournment of the Dáil to discuss the proposed cuts to fuel,

electricity and phone allowances for social welfare recipients due to major detrimental effect it will have on vulnerable older people and people with disabilities.

The Sinn Féin Environment, Community and Local Government Spokesperson said; “The Government has this week approved cuts in fuel allowance and household benefits. More than 630,000 people across the State who are dependent on social welfare in order to barely survive, are being targeted by this government in order to save €65 million.

“It is unacceptable that Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton can blame the IMF/EU/ECB for the cuts to these social welfare payments. These Thatcherite cuts are political choices to target those who are already vulnerable and marginalised instead of targeting those who can afford to pay.”

Deputy Stanley said Age Action, Older and Bolder, St Vincent de Paul and Alone have all criticised the cuts saying that they will increase fuel poverty. “My own constituency office has received panicked queries from people who are

depending on these payments to just get by. They cannot take any more cuts. The cuts will increase hardship and place a massive risk on the health and wellbeing of older people. Cuts to phone allowance will increase the isolation of many older people,” he said.

“Minister Joan Burton is going to implement these cuts in the absence of any Fuel Poverty Strategy. This will exacerbate the excess winter deaths this year. The gas allowance is being cut from €489 to €393 a year even

though Bord Gais and other energy providers are seeking to increase their prices by 28%. The Government has an obligation to protect the most vulnerable and marginalised in society. Sinn Féin is calling on the Government to reverse these cuts immediately,” Deputy Stanley concluded.