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Call for Fuel Allowance to be doubled

6 December, 2005


Sinn Féin Social Welfare spokesperson Séan Crowe TD has called on Finance Minister Brian Cowen to double the Fuel Allowance to €18 per week in Wednesday's budget. Deputy Crowe also called for the payment to be paid up front at the beginning of winter and for it to include the months of April and May.

Speaking in Dublin today he said, "There are now 62,000 households in chronic fuel poverty in the 26 Counties. 16,300 of them are households with elderly people living in them. In all 270,000 people have been in receipt of Fuel allowance as of 2003.

"The current payment is €9 a week. We are calling for it to be raised to €18 per week; for it to be paid up front at the beginning of winter and for it to include the months of April and May. This would be a practical measure that would help alleviate the hardship faced by some of the most disadvantaged people in our society. We believe this would cost in the region of €80-€100 million a year.

"This is just a fraction of the money that has been wasted by this Government on IT systems in the last couple of years - never mind the massive loses suffered by Revenue as a result of very generous tax breaks to the wealthy operated by the Government. Included in that IT figure is the €195 million wasted on the failed PPARS computer system; €57 million on the failed media lab in the south inner city; €61 million on the Garda PULSE system and the €50 million on the E-voting debacle.

"This Government has proved itself to be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to spending public money. This Wednesday I urge Minister Cowen to be wise when it comes to investing in those most in need in our society, rather that fritter away money on white elephants and ego trips." ENDS

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