Emergency budget needed amid cost-of-living crisis, says McDonald

The Sinn Féin leader has called for an additional €1.4 billion of support for people struggling with surging bills
Emergency budget needed amid cost-of-living crisis, says McDonald

David Young, PA

The Government should produce an emergency budget to release further support for people struggling amid the cost-of-living crisis, Mary Lou McDonald has said.

The Sinn Féin president said speed is of the essence when it comes to rolling out additional mitigations for families now living in a “permanent state of panic”.

On Friday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the Government was examining what else could be done to “soften the blow” of surging costs, adding “a lot of things are in the mix”.

Mr Varadkar ruled out extra borrowing to fund new measures and highlighted that any steps have to comply with EU law, for instance in areas such as VAT relief on fuel.

 

The Government says it has already allocated €2 billion since October’s budget to alleviate cost-of-living pressures. Measures have included a cut on fuel excise duty, the reduction of public transport costs and rebates on household energy bills.

Ms McDonald said her party proposes a further €1.4 billion in support measures.

She insisted the money could be found without recourse to additional borrowing, claiming there is sufficient “elbow room” in the state’s finances.

Asked in an interview with RTÉ Radio One whether there is a need for an emergency budget, Ms McDonald said there is.

“The scale of this crisis in households right across the land is really, really worrying,” she added.

Fuel prices
A cut in fuel excise duty are among the steps the Government has already announced (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I think there are so many families now that are just getting by and that live in what I would describe as a permanent state of panic as the bills land on the mat and a fear of anything going wrong in their household, anything further going wrong in their household finances.

“The Government can’t be a spectator in that, they need to intervene.

“Certainly they can do more, they must do more, and I am hopeful that they will see the good sense.

“Families and households that are struggling just to get by don’t have the luxury of time.

“Speed is of the essence and the Government needs to be a lot more agile and a lot quicker in its response.”

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