Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has called on the government to ‘poverty proof’ its next Budget and said that fuel poverty in particular needs to be addressed.
The Sinn Féin TD described the government’s commitment to the Committee on Climate Action demand that it undertakes an analysis of the impact of fuel poverty on vulnerable households, as “not worth the paper it was written on” after it emerged that none of the relevant government Departments, including Climate Action, Finance, and Public Expenditure, have carried out a single review into the extent of fuel poverty.
Deputy Seán Crowe:
“It is deeply frustrating that for all of its talk on climate change the government’s approach is to increase carbon taxes with the burden being placed on those who can least afford to pay.
“The government’s commitment to the Committee on Climate Action demand that it undertakes an analysis of the impact of fuel poverty on vulnerable households is not worth the paper it was written on. None of the relevant government Departments including Climate Action, Finance and Public Expenditure have carried out a single review into the extent of fuel poverty.
“Despite all the government’s rhetoric, their approach to this Budget will inevitably impact disproportionately on low and middle income earners who can least afford to make changes, such as buying electric cars or retrofitting homes.
“Climate change is most the defining challenge of our generation and must be faced head on.
“The best way to fight climate change is not to penalise ordinary families and working people by increasing their fuel costs or utility bills.
“Unless measures are in place to give families alternatives, a Carbon Tax is just a punitive tax increase and must absolutely be opposed.
“We need to see climate change tackled in a progressive way that combines social justice and fairness with the obvious environmental demands.
“We need a retrofitting programme. People need to be able to easily switch to heat pumps, make the change to electric vehicles in a cost effective way, and avail of microgeneration. We need real investment in our public transport and a transformation of our society towards energy renewables
“The type of Carbon Tax being proposed is not the solution, it is not poverty proofed, it is ineffective, its regressive, and it creates the illusion of action.”