Government urged to step up with more measures amid cost of living crisis

Politicians in Cork have raised serious concerns about the impact of the crisis. 
Government urged to step up with more measures amid cost of living crisis

Politicians in Cork have raised serious concerns about the impact of the crisis, with Cork Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould saying that people who have never struggled before are now struggling.

THE Government is being urged to step up with more measures to mitigate the impact of inflation during the current cost of living crisis.

Politicians in Cork have raised serious concerns about the impact of the crisis, with Cork Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould saying that people who have never struggled before are now struggling.

Cork Socialist Party TD Mick Barry said the Government cannot say they are on the people’s side in the crisis if, at the same time, they are planning to increase energy taxes.

Yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar played down hopes for another major intervention to tackle the rising cost of living.

Mr Varadkar said that while the Government is meeting next week to consider further action to deal with rising inflation and offset the planned increase in carbon tax, such moves will not amount to a “big bazooka measure”.

Opposition parties have called variously for action on the minimum wage and an emergency budget, with the war in Ukraine adding to rising costs for households.

The Government has already attempted to mitigate the impact of inflation with a range of announcements, including providing households with a €200 energy rebate, but critics have said action so far does not go far enough.

Taoiseach Micheáll Martin said the three-party coalition leaders will “scope out what is the best response” when they meet. 

"The idea is we have to have a more comprehensive response to the economic impacts of this war and the current inflationary cycle and the cost of living and make sure we look at the medium-term in that response," Mr Martin said.

"We cannot chase inflation and get the wrong results. The critical issue is how do we protect people from the worst impacts of the cost-of-living increases. We have to do that in a way that does not make it worse,” he said.

Speaking to the Echo, Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said that there are families with two parents working full-time coming into his clinic facing homelessness. 

“The reality is that people are struggling including those who have never struggled before. There are families with two parents working full-time coming into my clinic facing homelessness, people who have never had money worries before and are worried about putting their heating on. We have heard Catriona Twomey this week saying Penny Dinners has never seen this level of demand."

The Cork North Central TD called for the extension of the Fuel Allowance payment, describing the decision to put an end to the payment during the current cost of living crisis as “shocking”.

“It is shocking that the Government is stopping the Fuel Allowance from today [Friday] in the middle of a cost of living crisis. People are under huge pressure to pay their fuel and energy bills and the Fuel Allowance can be a vital lifeline to ensure that they can cover basic costs,” he said.

He said that party members in Sinn Féin have called for sensible and targeted measures that will help households weather the crisis.

"The Government needs to wake up and introduce measures without delay. That means stepping up engagements with the Commission to reduce VAT on domestic energy bills to zero and removing excise duty from home heating oil to reduce its cost.

“It means introducing cost of living cash payments to support low and middle-income households and increasing core social welfare rates to respond to rising costs,” he said.

Deputy Mick Barry said he believed the carbon tax increase due on May 1 needs to be cancelled "and the huge price increases planned by the State-owned ESB need to be stopped." 

"Forget about the big bazooka's Leo, the people need action not soundbites,” he said

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