ESRI report confirms Labour call for enhanced fuel allowance system
- Fuel Allowance means-test threshold must be increased and half rate payment introduced.
Responding to the ESRI report showing almost a third of households in the State are experiencing energy poverty, Labour Social Protection spokesperson Seán Sherlock TD said it confirmed the Labour Party call for a reformed fuel allowance system to help those on fixed incomes cope with the rising cost of living.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“The Government has not heeded our calls for an emergency budget, but we have put forward a number of costed measures to help address the impact of rising inflation. Labour has been clear that Ireland needs a pay rise for those in work, and the introduction of a living wage is essential.
“A key part of our budget proposals was the introduction of a €200 refundable carbon income tax credit for those households earning less than €50,000.
“Based on the rate of inflation we also have said working age social welfare payments need to rise by at least €15 a week to provide a minimum cushion for those on fixed incomes so they can afford price rises in essential groceries. Energy inflation has increased household costs by €21 per week so we need both a bonus now, and a commitment to increases linked to the cost of living.
“The ESRI report shows clearly that the rising cost of energy must be addressed and that increased targeted support is needed. The income eligibility threshold for fuel allowance is too low, and far too many households on low incomes don’t qualify so it must be increased. Government should also move to create a second band of eligibility for fuel allowance. The payment can be made at a half rate to assist people who are over the income threshold on the existing criteria and pinned to their collar.
“The Government has the power and the resources to help those most in need, and they must get on with the job without delay.”