Households need emergency measures to get through the winter

22 September 2022
  • Windfall Tax to be redistributed to those who need it most
  • Energy price cap to keep the heat on for households
  • Emergency eviction ban while supply comes on stream

Launching its Alternative Budget today (Thursday 22nd September) Labour has demanded a radical package of measures to protect households this winter. Speaking today, Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash said the potential scale of the crisis is unprecedented, with Government faced with the dual crisis in housing and energy.

Deputy Nash said radical measures are needed to intervene in the energy market and ensure people’s money goes further over the months ahead.

Deputy Nash said:

“The scale of the financial crisis experienced by households throughout the country is unlike anything ever experienced before. This Government will be judged on what it does to keep people warm this winter. How it can make sure low and middle income households won’t have to keep cutting back on the essentials – decent meals, travelling to work, getting to college.

Cost of Living Measures

“Stellar exchequer figures are great, but they jar with families whose household budgets look and feel very different. Groceries are costing more, hardworking people are forced to do more with less. Labour’s proposals take this into account and put forward significant emergency measures in a €4 billion Cost of Living package in 2022 to address energy poverty and help families through the months ahead. This would include a €600 million windfall tax on energy profits rising to €800 million in 2023, a levy on data centres worth €40 million and a price cap on energy costs.

“The biggest worry facing people is how they are going to pay the gas and electricity bills. To protect the most vulnerable in society, Labour would provide a €400 Carbon tax credit, increase social welfare rates by €20 from October and pay a double payment in October and December.

Work

“On the ground where it matters, people in energy intensive jobs are losing their work. A heavy manufacturing plant in Drogheda is this month letting nearly 40 of its 45 staff go because of rising gas and electricity prices. They have been offered some support to help pay that bill but they would prefer some supports to help pay the wages and keep engineers and electricians in work.

“The energy crisis is a jobs crisis. That’s why we say create an Energy Wage Support Scheme worth initially €400m to help support jobs and our skills base. Once these kinds of jobs are gone, they’re gone.

Housing

“In addition to real fears about paying energy bills, too many people are worried about their living situation – keeping up with the extortionate rents, trying to buy a home in a country where house prices are up 9.5% year on year, and so many renters concerned about eviction this winter.

“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are simply not investing enough in housing and in our people. They are constantly playing catch-up. That’s why Labour would use €2.5 billion from the surplus to build 20,000 social and affordable homes and double the support for solar panel investment as part of a wider climate mitigation package. This is a smart capital investment in our country.

Funding an Ireland That Works

“Next year on the current side, Labour proposes a fully funded increase in expenditure of €6.55 billion.

“Taking the government’s initial budget package of what they claim is €3.7 billion for new measures, we have also located an additional €2.85b in in revenue raising – like last year – and this now includes a Windfall Tax on the hyper profits of energy companies which we estimate could come in at €800m.

“The series of tax increases proposed on non-productive wealth and assets allow us to sustainably raise additional revenue for spending, over and above the conservative framework adopted by the government, and in line with the principles of sustainable and fair taxation set out by the Commission on Taxation and Welfare. This package will provide for the much-needed investment in our communities necessary to build an Ireland that works for all.

“Ireland is a rich country yet our country just does not work. We have housing model that’s broken, climate targets missed, the crippling cost of childcare and whole sectors of our economy rife with low pay. Now, in the middle of an unprecedented cost of living crisis, half of all Irish families are stretched to the limit just to keep the heating on this winter.”

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