Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD Peter Burke says
Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath, Peter Burke has said the new Telephone Allowance announced in Budget 2018 will benefit older people.
The previous allowance was initially scrapped in 2014 due to budget constraints, but next year's budget reversal will benefit sections of the community who need it most.
“The budget announcement by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform which confirmed we are introducing a new Telephone Support Allowance of €2.50 per week for those in receipt of both the Living Alone Allowance and the Fuel Allowance will be welcomed by those who are most vulnerable in society,” he added.
“Those people were badly affected by this cut a number of years ago and have been campaigning ever since for its restoration.”
Deputy Burke went on to say that the fuel allowance of €22.50 per week was also being extended to 27 weeks per year and he pointed to the fact that the move would assist older people in local communities.
“The fact that this can be received in two payments of €292.50 each as of this year has been a very positive and practical measure introduced by the Government and has been welcomed by constituents who I have dealt with it over as it has allowed them to make savings on oil fills,” he continued.
“Speaking from my own experience in Longford/Westmeath and as a Councillor for Mullingar/Coole previously, I know from speaking to old age pensioners in the community that the cut of the telephone allowance was not received very well and had very negative effects on a lot of older people terms of managing their finances.
“They depended on this allowance as well as the fuel allowance to ensure they could pay other vital expenses.
“I have always believed that as the Government built on restoring the economy, which it has done so successfully to date, that we should be giving back to the general public, who helped in the efforts to turn our economy around.
“I believe those in most need, such as older people, should be looked after as well as part of a fair and just society and I believe the introduction of this allowance is part of the mantra and I hope that it will be welcomed across the State.
“To be clear though, I see this new allowance as a first step towards fairness, and would hope the next Budget extends this allowance to other vulnerable people in society.”
You may also like to read: