Energy crisis: older people's organisations speak out at national level
Photo by Arthur Lambillotte on Unsplash
In times of rocket-rising energy prices, many people across Europe are struggling to make ends meet. Older people are not spared, in particular those on low incomes who are even exposed to a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion, as shown in the findings of our recent survey, published on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. In many EU countries, AGE members are getting involved to make sure older people are taken into account in national policies to mitigate the impact of inflation.
In Belgium, the government has granted an energy bonus of €100 to every family with an electricity contract at the end of March 2022. But this measure does not apply for older people in residential care homes. For OKRA, this is not acceptable as the energy bills of care home residents have also risen sharply in the last year. The senior citizens' association is therefore taking legal action before the Constitutional Court to ensure that residents also benefit from the heating bonus. Read the article in Dutch
In Italy, ANAP is also shedding light on the difficult situation faced by residential care facilities in a context of high energy price. While the economic repercussions on businesses, and families are extensively covered in the media, little is heard about the residential care sector, which is also hardly hit. Indeed, residential care institutions face specific challenges, such as the impossibility to reduce heating for frail residents and to increase the costs of fees charged to families. And, in most cases, residents cannot be housed in their families due to lack of adequate or specialised care and continuous assistance. The Italian organisation therefore urges the government to act, warning that older people and their families will face great difficulties if residential care homes are forced to close. Read more in Italian
In Finland, last August, the association of pensioners Elakeliitto stressed the particularly hard impact of the rising prices of electricity on pensioners, who often have lower incomes and very limited opportunities for additional income. In addition, many of them rely on electric as their main source of heating, as most of older residential areas are electrically heated.
The Finnish organisation also pointed out that some digital operations, such as signing electricity contracts and tendering for them online, may cause problems for pensioners. Read the full press article in Finnish
In Germany, the national organisation of seniors, BAGSO, welcomes the decision of the Federal government to finally include older pensioners in the energy bonus of 300 euros initially granted to employees only. In spring this year, BAGSO had denounced as "unacceptable" the fact that pensioners were in the first place not eligible for the grant. Read BAGSO press statement in German
In the Netherlands, KBO-PCOB welcomes the comprehensive package of purchasing power measures announced by the government. The measures include a price cap for energy starting this year and a 10% gross increase in the statutory minimum wage.
AGE Dutch member organisation now calls for a fair implementation of the measure in order to actually reach the groups that need it most.
KBO-PCOB however deplores that the Dutch government did not meet the request of the senior citizens' organisations to give a one-off payment of €500 to all state pensioners still in 2022. The Seniors Coalition calls for that benefit to still be included in the budget for 2023. Read the article in Dutch.
Read also our article: Energy poverty, a matter of concern for older people