Government under fire as cost of living expenses continue to rise across the country
THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOT done enough to help workers and families affected by the soaring cost of living, Sinn Féin has said.
TD Claire Kerrane said the majority of people will see no help in the coming weeks apart from the increased rebate on household energy bills announced this week.
But Government Minister Roderick O’Gorman said a combination of targeted and universal measures had been announced to benefit people across Ireland.
A package of measures to deal with inflationary pressures was announced on Thursday after a meeting of the Cabinet’s economic sub-committee.
The main step will see the rebate on household energy bills rise to €200 including VAT, and public transport fares are set to be reduced by 20% from April for the rest of the year.
People who already receive the fuel allowance should receive an additional payment of 125 euros and those eligible for the drug payment scheme, which caps the maximum a family can pay in drugs per month, will see the limit reduced by 100 euros to 80 euros.
But Ms Kerrane told RTE’s The Week in Politics: ‘After waiting so long for the government to act on the cost of living crisis, I think what we really needed was action targeted.
“What we have seen is the huge amount announced for everyone, which is not targeted.
“The government has not done enough.
“The government could have done more, it should have done more.”
She added: “The truth is that for the vast majority of families, apart from the electricity credit of 200 euros, they will not see any additional help for heating when it has increased on average by around 700 euros per housework.
“They will see nothing, workers and families, beyond this electricity credit to help them in the coming week.”
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O’Gorman said: “The measures we have proposed are a combination of universal measures and targeted measures.
“The energy credit is universal because we want to get it to people as quickly as possible, knowing that people are struggling with their energy bills.
“There is also this targeted element, the lump sum of 125 euros for beneficiaries of the winter fuel allowance, the anticipation of measures on the working family allowance, the lowering of the drug allowance threshold, these are all measures that will have a direct impact on people who already identify as having low income.
“It is recognized that changes in energy prices have impacted every family, every household across the country and that is why it is important that we have a universal element in our response.”