SDLP Councillor Dónal Cunningham has voiced his support for Age Sector Platform’s latest campaign, which calls on food retailers to introduce a pensioner ‘Discount Day’ in order to help older shoppers cope with the rising cost of living and enable them to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.
The campaign has been prompted by one of the most popular motions passed at the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament earlier this year. Anne Watson from Age Sector Platform commented: “ Drastic increases in food prices, and the older population’s inability to keep pace, has meant affording the weekly shop is a constant worry for many older people.
At present, one in five pensioners in Northern Ireland is living in poverty. Rising food prices will push even older people towards this hardship line.” Ms Watson continued: “It has been proven that older people spend a higher proportion of their income on food than any other age group; with someone over 75 spending almost twice as much on food than someone under 30. This means older people are finding it harder to keep up with hikes in food prices, and why we are calling on food retailers to introduce a pensioner discount day to enable older people to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.”
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%.