Budget: 'Most vulnerable' will be protected from rising energy costs

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was speaking during his visit to New York for meetings at the United Nations
Budget: 'Most vulnerable' will be protected from rising energy costs

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the Government will use the Budget to protect people with lower incomes from the impact of rising energy costs.

The Coalition is also confident that power blackouts can be avoided this winter, Mr Martin said according to The Irish Times.

He was speaking during his visit to New York for meetings at the United Nations.

Mr Martin said the Government was “concerned” about energy prices which he said were rising as part of a global “inflationary spike”.

“In the forthcoming Budget we will seek to try and protect the lowest income groups and those most impacted by an increase in fuel prices,” he said.

Asked if this would mean an increase in fuel allowance welfare payments, the Taoiseach said the Government would have to decide on specific measures “but a principle of protecting those most vulnerable to price hikes around energy is one that we will subscribe to and adhere to.”

Energy blackouts

Amid a number of recent amber alerts regarding electricity supply, Mr Martin said Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan was “confident that we’ll get through this winter”.

On Tuesday the Social Democrats and People Before Profit (PBP) called for a moratorium on new data centres in the Republic due to their high energy use.

Mr Martin said he had not seen the details of the PBP Bill seeking to ban new data centres, but said such centres were needed for the technological transformation that was taking place.

Legislating to ban them did not sound like a “very intelligent approach”, he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar indicated a welfare package will be delivered in October’s Budget to tackle the rising cost of living.

Labour leader Alan Kelly has warned the Government is facing a “winter of discontent” amid soaring energy, food and rent costs.

Pensioners and those on social welfare will be worst affected by inflation hikes if the Government does not act, Mr Varadkar said, as he outlined a range of measures for next month’s budget.

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