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Jennifer Whitmore TD

One-off measures are simply not enough to prevent households from falling into food or energy poverty

The findings of a new survey from Barnardos are a damning indictment of the Government’s failure to get to grips with the cost-of-living crisis, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on children, said:

“In a wealthy nation like ours, it should never be the case that increasing numbers of parents have to forego medical appointments, cut back on food portions, or reduce their energy usage so they can feed their families – but that is exactly what is happening on this Government’s watch.

“Of those surveyed, 37 per cent of parents said they had to go without or cut down on heating. The figures for those who were forced to reduce electricity use and food were 23 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

“One of the report’s starkest findings is that 28 per cent of parents had cut back or gone without medical care, medicines, therapy or health assessments in the past six months. Almost three-quarters of those surveyed said cost-of-living increases had negatively impacted their children, with 17 per cent saying they have been significantly affected.

“A separate report from Safefood this week revealed that families on social welfare pay one third of their household income on the most basic of healthy foods.

“These findings come just one day after the Society of St Vincent de Paul told an Oireachtas committee how the energy crisis was having a devastating impact on households throughout the country. Last year, SVP saw a 40 per cent increase in requests for energy-related assistance. In the first quarter of 2023, there was a 50 per cent rise in such requests against the same period last year.

“One-off measures are simply not enough to prevent people from falling into food or energy poverty. The Government needs to look at increasing core social welfare rates and introducing more targeted energy supports to insulate vulnerable households from the cost-of-living and energy crises.”

May 24, 2023

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