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The question for the government now is clear: when, not if, it will act?

The cost of living crisis has vaporised household budgets, according to Social Democrats co-leader and Finance Spokesperson Róisín Shortall.

“This month’s consumer price index makes grim reading. Prices in the past month have increased by nearly 7pc – the fastest rate of increase since the index began, in 1997. This is not sustainable for those workers and families who are already struggling to get by.

“Household budgets have been vaporised by these relentless increases. Staples like bread, milk and pasta are up by 10pc in the past year. Electricity and gas prices are up by 22pc and 28pc – increases that don’t yet reflect the enormous price hikes announced by suppliers in recent weeks. Meanwhile, home heating oil has increased by an unprecedented 58pc in the last month alone.

“The question for the government now is clear: when, not if, it will act? Measures must urgently be brought forward to try to dull the catastrophic impact of these price increases on household budgets. The alternative is clear – more and more workers and families falling into food and energy poverty and homelessness.

“The Social Democrats have already suggested a number of measures that could immediately be implemented. Those measures include: putting €300 back in the pockets of workers earning €50,000 or less via a refundable tax credit; increasing core social welfare rates by €5; and expanding eligibility for the fuel allowance to those in receipt of the Working Family Payment and increasing the duration of time it is paid for at least another four weeks.

“The government has no excuse not to act.”

7 April, 2022


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