Sinn Féin MLA Caitriona Ruane has pledged his support for Age Sector Platform’s latest campaign, which calls on food retailers to introduce a pensioner ‘Discount Day’ to help older shoppers cope with the rising cost of living and enable them to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.
The ‘Silver Saver campaign’ emerged as an initiative from the North’s Pensioners Parliament and recent figures revealed that average food prices rose by 26% between June 2007 and June 2011 whereas over the same period the state pension only increased by 17%.
On signing up to support the campaign, Ms Ruane said: “Most of us are all too aware that the cost of living and food prices in particular have risen significantly in recent years and there is no indication that trend is going to change anytime soon.
“Therefore, it is important that all possible avenues to reduce the impact of this on our older people are explored.
“Many pensioners in Fermanagh are solely reliant on a fixed income, often the state pension, so it becomes very difficult to manage an ever increasing food budget in those circumstances.
“Many promotions in supermarkets tend to focus on increasing the quantity of goods sold and not the price charged, with buy one get one free or three for two offers a common occurrence.
“These are not much good to a pensioner living alone as the perishable goods will simply go uneaten”It would be of a much greater benefit to older people living alone if smaller quantities of food could be purchased at a more affordable price.
“For example, most pensioners have no need for a full loaf of bread or two litres of mile, but a half loaf is often every bit as expensive as a full loaf and a litre of milk is nearly the same price as two litres in most shops.
“I would call on food retailers locally to embrace this campaign and explore what changes they can make to their pricing structure to be more understanding of the needs of our older people.”