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Government must wake up to the energy crisis and support workers and families - Pearse Doherty TD

3 December, 2021 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on the government to wake up to the energy crisis and deliver a financial package to support workers and families in face of rising energy prices.

The Donegal TD criticised the government parties for voting against a Sinn Féin amendment to the Finance Bill that would have required them to explore measures to reduce the cost of household energy bills for struggling families.

Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:

“The government has failed to get a grip on the soaring cost of energy and needs to wake up.

“There have been over 35 price hikes announced by energy suppliers since the start of the year. In the twelve months to October energy prices rose by 25 percent:

“The price of electricity rose by 16 percent and gas prices by 23 percent.

“The cost of home heating oil, the main fuel source for home heating in 37 percent of homes, rose by a staggering 71 percent.

“Where other governments throughout Europe have acted, this government is asleep at the wheel.

“In Spain, VAT on electricity bills has been slashed by 11 percent.

“In the Czech Republic, VAT on gas and electricity has been removed entirely for the rest of the year.

“In Italy, the government has rolled out a €5.3 billion package to slash VAT, remove electricity and gas charges and expand the social bonus that discounts the cost of gas and electricity.

“In contrast, this government has failed to act, even as winter begins to bite and energy prices soar.

“Yesterday, government parties voted against a Sinn Féin amendment to urgently examine measures to reduce domestic energy bills for households.

“Refusal to act will come at a great cost for workers and families struggling to light and heat their homes this winter.

“Sinn Féin has called on the government to take every action possible to reduce energy costs for households – including negotiations with the Commission to remove VAT on domestic energy bills.

“They rejected these proposals out of hand.

“We have called on the government to explore discount schemes on domestic energy bills that operate in other jurisdictions to protect low and middle-income households from energy price hikes – these too were rejected out of hand.

“Sinn Féin have called for the government to expand the eligibility criteria for the fuel allowance to ensure it can be accessed by more households – this too was rejected by government.

“Unless the government wakes up to the energy crisis, households will struggle this winter.

“Sinn Féin is calling for a financial package to be brought forward without delay.”

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