Calls for more supports as Government consider ways to tackle cost of living increases

The Government is understood to be looking at more ways to address soaring energy prices and inflation.
Calls for more supports as Government consider ways to tackle cost of living increases

Vivienne Clarke

Additional payments for those who are most pressed as a result of increased energy costs are now required, according to Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty.

Not alone should there be a doubling of the universal €100 energy payment, there should also be targeted measures for social welfare recipients, he said.

“The penny has finally dropped”, he told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

“We’ve been calling for this for six months. This is a symptom of this Government, delay and delay. We can’t be blamed for Government’s inactions.”

Mr Doherty's comments come as the Government is said to be considering additional measures to tackle increases in the cost of living, largely driven by rising energy bills.

Speaking to Newstalk, Minister of State Niall Collins said the Government understands the €100 energy credit will not solve the issue, but added more measures will be considered over the coming weeks and "will be acted on".

Targetted supports

However, Mr Doherty also called for a rent-freeze to put money back into renters’ pockets.

The Carbon Tax, due on May 1st, should not go ahead, he added, and additional payments should be made to those in distress.

On the same programme, Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea called for a doubling of the energy payment as a targeted campaign would take too long. It would require significant changes to the social welfare code, while the fuel allowances does not apply to all social welfare recipients.

Doubling the universal credit payment would be quicker, he said, adding: “Time is of the essence.”

Mr O’Dea said he was completely in favour of the Government taking any action necessary to stop businesses gouging customers. Some businesses had passed increased costs on to customers, but it was the hope that the current rise in inflation would taper out.

“People need to be relieved quickly. Actions need to be creative and fast,” he said.

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