Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action Darren O’Rourke TD says tomorrow’s punitive carbon tax hike will drive up home heating bills at a time when families can least afford it.
The Meath East TD said introducing the hike when alternatives such as retrofitting are being denied to ordinary families, due to the government’s pathetic rollout, adds insult to injury and will serve to drive ordinary families into poverty.
Teachta O’Rourke said:
“Budget 2021 saw the carbon tax rise from €26 to €33.50 a tonne, with similar increases locked in for the coming decade. The 2021 increase will apply to heating fuels from May 1st. This is a punitive measure and comes at a time people can least afford it.
“Sinn Féin has consistently said that imposing a carbon tax on ordinary people without providing alternatives is deeply unfair and will not help address our climate emergency. In fact it will turn people against it.
“This increase will push up the price of household essentials – gas to cook dinner, a litre of kerosene, a bag of coal or a bale of briquettes to heat the home and keep warm.
“Coming at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are unemployed, this hike will drive more people into fuel and energy poverty.
“The carbon tax not a behavioural tax if there are no affordable alternatives for ordinary people to switch to. The government’s retrofitting plan has been full of promises but, even accepting the challenges of Covid, rollout has been pathetic.
“Despite this, government think financially targeting them year on year with a carbon tax is going to somehow change this.
“Research commissioned by the Department of Social Protection shows clearly that the carbon tax increase will have a disproportionate impact on low income families and households.
“This is obvious but the government carries on with its ‘all stick, no carrot’ approach.
“This is anything but a Just Transition. It is a deeply flawed and regressive approach that epitomises this government’s approach to climate action. Ordinary people are hit again and again.
“For Sinn Féin, social justice must be at the centre of our approach to tackling climate change. We believe workers and families need to be helped transition to greener alternatives, not constantly targeted.”