One in four people are cutting back on food and heat for homes

By Aimee Walsh

A REPORT has shown that one-in-four people are cutting back on food and utilities due to financial pressures as a result of the pandemic.

RED C research, commissioned by St Vincent De Paul, found that 43% of people in Ireland are facing financial hardship due to loss of jobs, increased household expenditure and loss of savings to meet living expenses.

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President of SVP for Tallaght West, Joe Moran, told The Echo that these figures also reflect the people they come into contact with in the West Tallaght area.

“We find the people that are in distress are large families, with five or six kids, and they are under pressure and we found that they are the main calls we are getting.

“There is no doubt about it, and certainly with the children home from school we find that they need more food -we send them a bit more help.

“We do not visit the same families every week, but families who wouldn’t be visited regularly they are all getting help just in case. That is the way we have done it. We are aware of the extra food needed.”

The data revealed that for people unable to work due to illness or disability, 42% reported going without heating due to cost due to Covid-19, compared to 18% of people at work.

Dr. Tricia Keilthy, SVP Head of Social Justice said: “Lone parents and people with disabilities are the groups most at risk of poverty in Ireland today and Covid-19 has added huge additional pressures to these groups as they navigated the practicalities of self-isolation and increased food and energy bills from being home.”

The research concluded that the majority of people surveyed were living comfortably prior to the pandemic, but a third were just about getting by or struggling financially. This indicated that many were in a poor financial position before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These findings point to a divergence in experience during lockdown, with those most vulnerable to financial strain and poverty feeling the brunt of the negative economic consequence of the pandemic.

“While the Government policy response has mitigated significant income losses through the pandemic unemployment payment and wage subsidy schemes, this data shows that additional interventions for those most at risk of financial distress are needed to ensure the public health crisis is not followed by a deeper debt, homelessness and poverty crisis,” said Dr. Keilthy.

heating due to cost due to Covid-19, compared to 18% of people at work.

Dr. Tricia Keilthy, SVP Head of Social Justice said: “Lone parents and people with disabilities are the groups most at risk of poverty in Ireland today and Covid-19 has added huge additional pressures to these groups as they navigated the practicalities of self-isolation and increased food and energy bills from being home.”

The research concluded that the majority of people surveyed were living comfortably prior to the pandemic, but a third were just about getting by or struggling financially. This indicated that many were in a poor financial position before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These findings point to a divergence in experience during lockdown, with those most vulnerable to financial strain and poverty feeling the brunt of the negative economic consequence of the pandemic. 

“While the Government policy response has mitigated significant income losses through the pandemic unemployment payment and wage subsidy schemes, this data shows that additional interventions for those most at risk of financial distress are needed to ensure the public health crisis is not followed by a deeper debt, homelessness and poverty crisis,” said Dr. Keilthy.

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