Cork TD: For many families and old people, this will be a cold Christmas

The soaring cost of living is impacting the most vulnerable in our society, says THOMAS GOULD TD, Sinn Féin, Cork North Central, who has called for the introduction of a Living Wage
Cork TD: For many families and old people, this will be a cold Christmas

SF Deputy Thomas Gould.

THERE has been much debate in recent weeks about the rising cost of living. People are spending more now than ever on simply trying to survive. Extortionate rents continue to soar. People are being ripped-off by greedy insurance companies. Families are paying the equivalent of a second mortgage for childcare.

For ordinary people, this means there is less money in their pocket at the end of the week despite working the same hours for the same wages.

For many, this is a cause of stress and anxiety – living one paycheck to the next and worrying about the worsening weather, the pending Christmas period and the future with no chance to save.

We have seen 31 energy price hikes this year. That means real hardship. Older people in particular will suffer. The government increase in Carbon tax will push bills up further, push more families into poverty. It won’t change behaviour or reduce emissions.

It will make life harder. But the response of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is as if they believe it is all a figment of people’s imagination.

Reports released by Eurostat highlight the truth. These figures show that Ireland ranks among the highest in Europe for cost of living.

Of particular alarm is that Ireland is 78% more expensive than the EU average when it comes to housing, electricity and gas.

So, no, you are not imagining it. You feel it in your back pocket every day.

People working long hours trying to build a future are increasingly overwhelmed by the avalanche of eye-watering bills.

Older citizens getting by on reduced incomes are worrying about how to put food in the fridge.

The reality for many of you is that the cost of heating and lighting your homes has become a struggle. This is no way to live, and the government’s unfair Carbon Tax hike will only add to this.

As if the priorities of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael weren’t clear enough – the unfair and regressive Carbon Tax was increased at midnight on the day of the Budget. But for those who are the most vulnerable, a promise was made to increase the Fuel Allowance by €5. Yet, this increase won’t come in until January! So for many families and older people, this will be a cold and worrying Christmas.

The ESRI have previously found that over 10% of those in this state are living in fuel poverty.

1 in 10 people go to bed cold, worried about power cuts.

Instead of considering measures that could help these people, such as cutting VAT on energy costs to 0% for this winter, the government shrug their shoulders and essentially tell vulnerable people to wear an extra jumper.

Alongside this, businesses are closing because of the failure to tackle rip-off insurance.

Families are being put to the pin of their collar every month to pay off overinflated insurance. We need a government who aren’t afraid of the insurance industry and who will stand up for customers and tackle them head-on.

A Sinn Féin government would reduce the cost of living and the burden on ordinary people.

We would tackle climate change by holding the large corporations that are having the greatest impact to account while simultaneously lending a hand to ordinary people looking to make the necessary changes to reduce their harm.

Retrofitting, electric cars and public transport investment would mean that ordinary people can help fight climate change without being crippled by unfair regressive taxes.

We know that rents are spiralling out of control and the private rental sector is gone beyond a joke.

Rents in Cork rose by 13% in the last year alone and average We would freeze rents for three years and put a months rent back into renter’s pockets.

Childcare costs for many families are equivalent of a second mortgage.

These costs must come down substantially and quickly.

Sinn Féin will cut fees by two-thirds over two years in government and improve the pay and conditions of childcare workers.

Over the lifetime of the government we would introduce a Living Wage that would mean workers and their families can live with dignity and decency. Nobody should be left with pennies after paying their bills and working a full week.

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