April 18, 2023
“Social Climate Fund is an opportunity for a robust national strategy on energy poverty” – Chris MacManus MEP

“Social Climate Fund is an opportunity for a robust national strategy on energy poverty” – Chris MacManus MEP

“Today the European Parliament voted for the Social Climate Fund to be established in EU law. The Social Climate Fund is an opportunity for Ireland to develop and finance a robust strategy for the eradication of energy poverty”, said Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest.  MacManus was speaking during the European Parliament session in Strasbourg, where a large majority of MEPs voted to approve the new fund.

“The Social Climate Fund is a new EU fund dedicated to protecting and supporting vulnerable households through the energy transition. Each Member State will be allocated a budget to be spent on measures to alleviate energy poverty and shelter people from spikes in the cost of energy. These measures can include direct income supports, but the bulk of the measures should be long-term structural improvements to people’s homes and energy access. Since I worked on the Social Climate Fund proposal in the Economic Affairs Committee last year, I have been supportive of its potential to help Member States seriously take on energy poverty,” said MacManus.

“The European Commission proposed the Social Climate Fund to compensate for the introduction of a carbon price on fuels sold for road transport and heating buildings, essentially setting up an EU-wide version of Ireland’s carbon tax. I disagree with this approach, as the new carbon price is a regressive measure that will impact the poorest households most severely. However, the Social Climate Fund is a welcome antidote to the new carbon price. Importantly, it is the first time that the EU has clearly recognised the need to help households manage the energy transition, particularly those that may not have the means to renovate their homes or install renewable energy connections on their own.”

“Now that the Social Climate Fund has been agreed at EU level, it is over to the Member States to develop Social Climate Plans to detail how the funding will be used. These plans must be developed in wide consultation with stakeholders, including local authorities, civil society groups and charities. The plans must also feature clear targets and measurable actions.”

“This offers Ireland a real opportunity to update our previous Energy Poverty Strategy and develop a robust Social Climate Plan. The goal of that plan should be to eradicate energy poverty in order to guarantee all people’s right to clean, affordable energy. The plan should be informed by thorough consultation with social partners, civil society and those representing marginalised groups. I am calling on the government to start this work now, both to identify national measures that can be taken straight away, and to create a robust Social Climate Plan that is approved and ready to be implemented in 2026,” MacManus concluded. ENDS

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