The previous Government may have fallen victim to a downturn in consumer confidence just as the country turned out to vote, writes Fiona Reddan of The Irish Times.
The results of the latest KBC Bank Ireland/Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) consumer sentiment survey show that consumers displayed a less than positive view of the recovery, and how it might affect their household finances.
“Overall views in relation to consumers’ expectations seemed to disimprove in February compared to January. There were falls in the components relating to the outlook for the labour market and economic conditions over the next 12 months. Interestingly, the changes were not driven by an increase in negative responses but by increases in neutral responses perhaps reflecting increases in uncertainty rather than worsening perceptions about the economy,” said ESRI’s Daniel Foley. “The buying climate worsened slightly in February following a significant improvement in January indicating that households feel more uncertain with regard to decisions involving major household purchases.”
In other news, a recent review of private health insurance in Ireland has highlighted that those who avail of private health insurance do so in order to skip to the front of the queue, concern regarding the cost of treatment and accommodation in hospitals, along with perceived inadequate standards of public services.
Commissioned by the Health Insurance Authority and carried out by Millward Brown, the survey involved over 1,800 face to face interviews which took place in late 2015.
Finally Age Action, which works towards a better society for older people, has reacted angrily over suggestions made by an ESRI report which noted that some elderly people living in larger houses might be incentivised to move to smaller accommodation in order to help alleviate the housing crisis.
“Many older people struggle with loneliness and social exclusion. They don’t want to move out of homes where they know their neighbours, where they are close to family. There is an enormous sense of security, particularly for someone living alone, in knowing you have friends and neighbours nearby to check in and make sure you are okay. Moving away from those community supports is simply not something many older people are able to do,” said Age Action’s Head of Advocacy and Communications, Justin Moran, in a statement.
Researchers with ESRI, however, found little interest among those they spoke to over the age of 50, and noted that the prospect of social isolation would be among a number of issues which would have to be considered.