Saint Vincent de Paul is becoming increasingly worried about families who are already struggling as prices continue to rise in 2022. Photo: Benjamin Manley

SVP: Prices pushing families over the brink

A charity has expressed major concern for families already struggling financially.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) says that the rising cost of living is pushing more and more families into poverty.

The latest Consumer Price Index data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows prices rose by 7.8% in the year to May 2022, the largest increase in almost 38 years. It comes as the charity recorded over 78,000 calls for help so far this year, an approximate 20% increase on last year.

SVP says its volunteers have encountered countless people across the country unable to heat their homes or feed and care for their families.

According to the charity, the cost of living measures it has provided so far has helped and given people temporary relief. However, people on low and fixed incomes were often already at the brink, battling a rising tide of high rents, growing bills and often juggling health conditions and caring responsibilities.

Dr Tricia Keilthy, SVP Head of Social Justice, said: “Data from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) clearly shows the disproportionate impact of rising prices on low income households.

"It is critical that the upcoming budget directs resources towards people on low and fixed incomes, otherwise more people will be pulled into poverty and those already struggling to get by will be pushed even further into hardship.

Dr Keilthy also said social welfare rates should act as a lifeline, keeping people on low and fixed incomes “afloat in a sea of rising living costs”.

“Increasing them ahead of inflation is the only way to protect people. This should be a first step in a wider plan to strengthen our social protection system, making it more resilient to economic shocks and allowing people to live with dignity,” she said.