By Dominic McGrath, PA
The Tánaiste has played down hopes for another major Government intervention in tackling the rising cost of living.
Leo Varadkar said on Friday 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 a cut to excise duty on fuel and providing households with a €200 energy rebate.
However, critics have said action so far does not go far enough.
The Tánaiste said the Government will bring forward new measures and “nothing is off the table”.
But he declined to provide details on what exact proposals are being considered.
He noted that people want to see the cost of childcare, healthcare, housing and education all made more affordable.
“There are a lot of costs that the Government can influence that we could help people with that might make more sense in doing, and be more sustainable longer term, than responding to energy prices going up and down,” Mr Varadkar said.
Speaking in the Dublin suburb of Inchicore, he said the Government will “treat the symptoms” of the cost-of-living crisis.
“That means helping people to pay those increased bills,” he said. “But ultimately what we need is an anti-inflation strategy that’s about bringing down the cost of living, not just chasing the cost of living upwards.”
He said the Government will meet next week because it recognises the “rising cost of living and the rising cost of energy in particular is really impacting on people’s standard of living and household budget”.
He added: “We want to take some additional actions, but in particular, what we decided we want to do is offset the increase in carbon tax that happens on May 1.”
The jump in carbon tax has proved controversial, with Sinn Féin urging the Government to postpone the planned measure.
Mr Varadkar admitted the carbon tax will prove expensive for some people.
He added: “We want to do something to offset that, but that’ll be the intention. Now, it’s not going to be another big bazooka measure. We’re not in that position at the moment.
“We don’t want to get into the situation whereby we’re borrowing money to help people reduce their bills, because ultimately, in the long run, that’s just a con.”