St Vincent de Paul see more people ‘for the first time’ as calls for help surge
‘It's really critical that resources are directed towards people who are on low and fixed incomes - otherwise, we're going to see more people pulled into poverty’
St Vincent de Paul has revealed how are seeing people “coming to us for the first time” as calls for help surged by 20 per cent from last year.
The charity has launched its pre-budget submission in which it is calling on the Government to increase weekly social welfare rates by €20.
SVP has also called for the Fuel Allowance payment to be increased by €15 a week, and expanded to 32 weeks.
The demands follow the 191,000 requests for help for help the charity receive late year and the assistance to the tune of €14.6m for people who could not afford food that they paid out.
While some €4.7m was given in supporting access to education, and €4.1m for those struggling with their utility costs.
SVP research and policy Officer Issy Petrie says for a lot of people, it is the first time they've had to reach out.
"We absolutely are seeing people coming to us for the first time.
"People who maybe wouldn't have been struggling before, they would have been just about managing.
"But now faced with rising costs - whether that's their energy, whether that's transport, running a car - they may have a bill come in that they simply can't pay.
"Or they're finding that their food budget that used to just about cover their costs isn't going far enough and they're really having to prioritise and cut back."
She says the Government needs to focus on those with low incomes.
"It's really critical that in this upcoming budget, resources are directed towards people who are on low and fixed incomes - otherwise, we're going to see more people pulled into poverty.
"We are really calling on the Government to recognise the urgency of the situation and provide a sustained solution throughout the year, so that people know that they have the income supports that they're going to need".
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