Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate, Communications and Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, says announcements of electricity and gas price increases mean that the government’s €200 electricity credit will be wiped out before it arrives.
Today, Bord Gáis Energy announced price increases for customers to be introduced from 15th April which will amount to a 27% increase on the average electricity bill and a 39% increase on the average gas bi
O’Rourke told Meath Live it is clear that existing government measures to mitigate energy price increases don’t go far enough.
He claimed, “Runaway fuel and electricity costs are reaching crisis point, putting ordinary workers and families under financial pressure at a time when they are already struggling with the cost of living.
“It is clear that existing measures announced by government don’t go anywhere near far enough. This morning, the Minister for Finance said there were no further plans to support struggling families in advance of the Budget in October. This afternoon, Bord Gáis announced price hikes that will wipe of the government’s €200 electricity credit before it arrives. The government obviously do not appreciate the scale of the problem.
“Sinn Féin outlined in our cost of living package last month that a number of key measures are needed to protect ordinary people from the rising cost of living. “One of these core proposals is to extend eligibility for a fuel allowance. The current criteria are far too limited and mean that many people who need support are being let down by this government. “Sinn Féin’s proposals would ensure a further 50,000 households would have access to these much-needed supports. We also outlined the need to introduce a discretionary fund of €15m to assist households with energy costs. It is clear that there is an urgent need for this and that it must include people struggling to afford to heat and electricity. This will be vital in ensuring people aren’t plunged into debt and left at the mercy of moneylenders as they struggle to meet these sky-high costs. “We must ensure that this discretionary fund and any further exceptional needs payments are flexible and accessible in order to meet the needs of people who need help. It is indefensible that people would be excluded due to arbitrary rules such as working too many hours per week. Everyone who needs urgent help must be able to receive it in an accessible and timely way. “Far too often we see this government act too little too late. Rather than appreciating the urgency of the cost of living crisis, this government is constantly out of touch and on the back foot. I am urging the government to grasp the urgency of the cost of living crisis and act now without delay. “There can be no half measures like we saw last week with the government’s late and lackluster plans on fuel costs. The government must act urgently, decisively, and deliver for people now. “Families are facing huge pressures. No one should be faced with the choice of heating their home or feeding their family. Too often, the government turns its back on this crisis and fails to support those who need it. This cannot be allowed to continue.
“The government must do everything possible to ensure families get a much-needed break. It is vital that we put ordinary workers and families first and ensure they get the supports they need now.”