New TBESS is a licence for energy companies to print money

27 September 2022
  • New scheme won’t protect jobs, wages or businesses from rising energy bills
  • Public money better spent on a domestic energy cap and Labour’s Energy Wage Subsidy Scheme
  • Refusal to bring in windfall tax is an indictment of government 

Labour finance spokesperson, Ged Nash, has today (Tuesday, 27th September) accused the Government of socialising the costs, and privatising the profits of the energy crisis by giving energy companies a licence to print money.

Responding to the new Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) announced as part of Budget 2023, Deputy Nash said:

“The TBESS is an undercooked eleventh hour measure, and it really shows. The details are sketchy and it is simply back of the envelope stuff. It is alarmingly clear that lessons have not been learned from previous support schemes.

“Rather than cap the price of energy and guarantee the jobs and wages of workers, the new TBESS will in effect indirectly subsidise profiteering energy companies.

“The fact that eligibility for the scheme depends on a 50% increase in average unit energy prices (2021 versus 2022) will be music to ears of energy companies. It is nothing short of a licence for then to print money and to continue pushing up their energy prices. In short, it is another blank cheque.

“Over €1.2 billion will be spent on this scheme with absolutely no guarantee that workers will keep their jobs this winter. It does not protect wages at a time when all workers badly need a pay rise.

“This money would have been better spent capping the domestic price of gas – so-called “Corrib price-cap”. If you control the price of energy, you control the price of everything else.

“Labour has consistently called for a permanent wage subsidy scheme to be put in place for such a crisis. Those calls were ignored – and yet again we have been left with a Government cramming before midnight, only to fail the test.

“Just €400m would have guaranteed no lay-offs and no wage cuts under Labour’s targeted Energy Wage Subsidy Scheme.

“Our scheme could have provided real certainty, and allowed workers and their employers to sleep soundly at night. Sadly, when the dust settles on Budget 2023, many will be worried whether they’ll still be in work this Christmas. That is not good enough.”

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