Government Inaction leading to Highest Electricity Prices in Europe and Falling Standards of Living – Tóibín
At Leaders’ Questions today Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín criticised Government inaction which has directly led to Ireland having the highest electricity prices in Europe and falling living standards. He also sought to find out exactly when the long promised Windfall Tax be implemented.
An Teachta Tóibín stated:
“Taoiseach the OECD stated, that in the last year Irish households experienced a massive drop in living standards. Under your government. The amount of money that workers earn after adjusting for inflation, fell last year. Of course, people didn’t need the OECD to tell them this, its their own bitter experience every week.
Hundreds of thousands of families are living from overdraft to overdraft. That’s if they can get an overdraft. Many families are in hoc to money lenders. Many families are maxed out and are going without food, heat.
Others are lying awake in the middle of the night trying to work out what bills they can pay and what bills they can put off until the next pay check.
We’re the 6th most expensive country in Europe. Because of this our families and communities are getting left behind, with nearly 20% of our population living on the margins or below the poverty line.
Families' annual food shop costs more than €1,000 higher now than last year, with grocery price inflation at 16.8%.
There is a cruelty to the government approach. On the back of the suffering of so many families, the government are actually quids in. Your government is making money out of the cost of living crisis. Last year saw the government take in more VAT on Fuel and Energy than you did in any of the previous four years.
The VAT on electricity has reached record heights of €381 million euro, with an increase of 40.4% since 2021 The government is taking in more money in increased taxes and semi state energy profits than its giving back in the Energy Credit.
You are taking more money out of people’s pockets than you are giving back and looking for a clap on the back while doing it.
Today we also learn that the price of electricity in Ireland is the highest in Europe. You blame international factors but international factors cant be to blame for Ireland having the highest electricity prices in Europe.
The unit price for electricity is nearly double the European average. Gas prices in Ireland are also among the highest in Europe.
Rip off Ireland is back with a vengeance and its brought to you by FF, FG and the Greens. The most frustrating element of this is that the government are standing idly by in terms of solutions. The Italian Government introduced a Windfall tax last year and last collected €4b. Germany and Spain introduced their Wind Fall Tax in December. Even the British Tory government implemented a windfall tax on energy companies making super normal profits.
Yet nothing but tumble weed from this government. Minister Ryan committed to a windfall tax 6 months ago, and practically every fortnight since, a government Minister has stood in this chamber or in media studios and has stated that it will be coming in a matter of weeks. These are very long weeks Taoiseach. What steps you will take now to lower the cost of electricity and gas and WHEN exactly will you will do it?
People can’t eat the General Scheme of a Bill. I spoke to civil servants today and there is no sign of a Bill even taking the first step in the legislative process. I would question is your government’s snail pace by incompetency or ideology. There is so much evidence to suggest that it is incompetency. Incompetency is in the DNA of this government, from record house prices, records rents, record homelessness, record hospital waiting lists and record A&E waiting times.
But in this case I believe that the reason the government has not moved is by design.
The ideologues in the Green party seek to significantly reduce the consumption of energy and high prices do just exactly that. High prices of electricity and gas is a policy objective of the Green Party so why would they be in any rush to reduce them. This is the party that recently redirected 1.5million in Just Transition Funds away from communities in the midlands into the UN. So tell me Taoiseach is it incompetence that has Irish people suffering from the highest electricity prices in Europe or is the green tail wagging the FF dog with a Green out come being achieved. "