The findings of an ESRI report this week showing that the over-65s are more at risk of poverty in Ireland than those of working age have been welcomed by Age Action, which is lobbying against any cuts in pensions in the upcoming Christmas budget.
According to Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins, the report’s findings also highlight the major progress made from 2004 to 2007 in reducing the numbers of older people at risk of poverty. It is important progress be maintained, he asserted.
“The numbers fell from 27 per cent in 2004 to 16 per cent in 2007, which has to be welcomed. However, there was a larger proportion at risk of poverty among older people (16 per cent ) and poverty levels remained highest among the most disadvantaged of older people, with 24 per cent of those living alone, and 23 per cent with disabilities, at risk of poverty,” he said.
The older people’s charity noted that the increase in the contributory and non-contributory State Pension between 2004 and 2007 was a key factor in reducing poverty among pensioners. Significantly, the report found that 73 per cent of over-65s received three-quarters or more of their income from social transfers.
“The report shows the impact which Government can have on poverty levels, and this success should be recognised,” Mr Timmins said. “It is important that this progress is not lost during the recession and that more pensioners are not plunged back into poverty by cuts to key social welfare payments in the December Budget.”