Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has responded to today’s Stability Programme Update and to measures announced by the Minister for Finance.
The Donegal TD said:
“It is now clear that this government doesn’t get the scale of the challenge facing workers and families.
“Households are seeing their living standards fall in the face of the biggest price rises seen in decades.
“We recognise that not everyone can be fully protected by every price increase – but the government can and should have done more.
“Today’s Stability Programme Update shows that there is fiscal headroom to introduce the measures we in Sinn Féin have proposed.
“Today, the Minister for Finance announced measures that he said would offset his Carbon Tax hike.
“Sinn Féin would have scrapped the Carbon Tax hike and introduced measures that actually deal with the cost of living crisis.
“The Minister announced a VAT reduction for gas and electricity but no measures to reduce the cost of home heating oil – despite its price more than doubling in the past year.
“He could have removed Excise Duty on home heating oil and reduced the price of a tank fill by more than €100 but didn’t – why not?
“What does this government have against households who have no choice but to use home heating oil?
“Since November, we in Sinn Féin have been calling on the government to work with the European Commission to secure a VAT cut on domestic energy bills. They only started this work last month and we have no details of what the government actually called for.
“Sinn Féin proposed a VAT reduction, but only as part of a comprehensive package to support that would provide real relief to households.
“This would have seen the removal of Excise Duty from home heating oil and the introduction of cost of living cash payments to lower and middle-income households.
“We would have reduced childcare costs and supported renters through a refundable tax credit and introduced a ban on rent increases.
“We would have extended the fuel allowance season and expanded eligibility to more households, as well as increasing social welfare rates in response to inflation to protect the most vulnerable.
“Disgracefully, this government will oversee a real term cut in social welfare rates.
“Workers and families are facing really difficult choices.
“They needed a government and Minister for Finance who understand the scale of the challenge and responded to support them.
“This government have failed that test.”