SIPTU has said the government's decision to increase the state pension by only €12 in Budget 2024 will "lock pensioners into poverty" for years to come. The comments come after yesterday's announcement by the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, was widely condemned by pensioner and old age advocacy groups. The civil society Pension Promise Campaign, endorsed by SIPTU, has called on the Government to keep its commitment to benchmark the state pension at 34 percent of average earnings. In order to achieve this, the top rate would have needed to increase by €53 per week in Budget 2024 – far in excess of the measures announced. SIPTU Retired Members representative, Pat Lamon, said: "The 34 percent figure was produced after a technical analysis by the Government itself. It represents the minimum that an older person needs to survive outside of poverty. "The budget announcement means that the state pension will be even lower in real terms than last year. With the Survey on Income and Living Conditions indicating that one in five older persons was at risk of deprivation in 2022, this decision risks locking pensioners into poverty for the long term. "The State can afford an adequate state pension. Given the healthy state of the country's finances, and the essential contribution made to Irish life by our older people, the least we deserve is to live without the fear of poverty. "The stories of suffering we have heard during this campaign should shame the Government and this Budget will do little to alleviate them. In fact, in all likelihood, it will make things worse for many."