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The measures the government introduces must be targeted at those who need the assistance most 

The government must stop dithering and take immediate action to tackle the cost of living crisis, according to Social Democrats Climate Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore.

“The cost-of-living crisis seems to have come as a surprise to the government, which is now scrambling to come up with ideas to insulate workers and families from soaring prices. The sole measure they announced before Christmas – the €100 electricity credit – will be of no assistance to families until at least March or April.

“This is not good enough. Then government must act now – and there are measures that could immediately be implemented to provide some relief to those most vulnerable to these price shocks.

“In the Social Democrats’ alternative budget, we recommended that core social welfare rates – which had not been increased since 2019 – should increase by €10. The paltry €5 increase, the government opted to introduce, was a slap in the face to those on fixed incomes, like pensioners, struggling to make ends meet. The government must immediately increase welfare rates.

“Other measures that could be taken now include: doubling the Exceptional and Urgent Needs Scheme so that low-income families are not pushed into energy poverty; extend the fuel allowance from 28 weeks to 32 weeks; remove the waiting list which exists for those on job seekers’ allowance before they can avail of the fuel allowance; and extend the moratorium on disconnections beyond March.

“The measures the government introduces must be targeted at those who need the assistance most. There are ways this can be done very speedily. The government must act, before any more time is wasted.”

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