“The high cost of energy here in Ireland should be considered a key contributor to utility arrears and the inability of people to adequately heat their homes,” says the SVP’s Dr Tricia Keilthy.
The charity stated that if revenue is raised from carbon taxes in Budget 2020 it must be ring-fenced for a Just Transition Fund and measures to protect low income households from energy price hikes.
Emerging issues with the economy now at almost ‘full employment’ are in-work poverty and the difficulty for people in rural areas in accessing employment.
Data from Eurostat show that among EU peer countries Ireland has the second highest rate of households who cannot afford to adequately heat their home and the highest percentage of utility arrears.
“People are already trying to pay back huge energy bills after the ‘Beast from the East’ hit and now, with further hikes on top of that, many simply won’t be able to cope” – Bishop Denis Nulty.
In its Pre-Budget Submission, the SVP quotes estimate that 25-30% of the population requires support in meeting their housing needs due to low incomes and high costs in Ireland.