Government under fire as cost of living expenses continue to rise across the nation

Government under fire as cost of living expenses continue to rise across the nation

THE GOVERNMENT HAS not done enough to help workers and families impacted by the spiralling cost of living, Sinn Féin has said.

TD Claire Kerrane said the majority of people would see no help in the weeks ahead aside from the increase in the 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 after a meeting of the Cabinet Economic sub-committee on Thursday.

The main step will see the rebate on household energy bills increase to €200, including VAT, and public transport fares are set to be cut by 20% from April for the rest of the year.

People already in receipt of the fuel allowance are set to receive an additional payment of 125 euro and those eligible for the drug payment scheme, which places a cap on the maximum a family can pay on medicines a month, will see the limit reduced from 100 euro to 80 euro.

But Ms Kerrane told RTE’s The Week in Politics programme: “After waiting so long for the government to take action on the cost of living crisis, I think what we really needed to see was targeted measures.

“What we did see was the vast amount announced going to everyone, that isn’t targeted.

“The Government haven’t done enough.

“The Government could have done more, they should have done more.”

She added: “The truth is that for the vast majority of families, aside from the 200 euro electricity credit, they will see no additional help whatsoever with heating when it has gone up by on average about €700 per household.

“They will see nothing, workers and families, beyond that electricity credit to assist them in the week ahead.”

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O’Gorman said: “The measures we have brought forward are a combination of universal measures and targeted measures.

“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 that targeted element, the lump sum of 125 euro for those receiving the winter fuel allowance, bringing forward measures on the working family payment, reducing the threshold for the drugs payment, those are all measures that will impact directly on people who already identified as having low income.

“There is a recognition that the changes in energy prices have had an impact on every family, on every household across the country and that is why it is important we have a universal element in our response.”

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