Monday 14 October 2019

Households 'will still struggle with electricity costs'


Picture posed
Picture posed

Anne-Marie Walsh

FAMILIES will be left struggling with increased electricity costs despite hikes in the fuel allowance, the Government has been warned.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul said the social welfare measures announced yesterday were "insufficient".

They include:

:: A €2 a week rise in fuel allowance;

:: An increase in the living alone allowance of €5;

:: A rise in the working family income threshold of €10 for families with up to three children;

:: An increase in the qualified child payment of €3 for over-12s and €2 for under-12s;

:: Claimants aged 25 to get full Jobseekers Allowance.

"Whilst the targeted measures are welcome to mitigate the potential impact of Brexit on the poorest households, the Government needed to be proactive and increase social welfare rates for those most at risk of income inadequacy," said head of social justice and policy Tricia Keilthy.

"The failure to do so means hundreds and thousands of households, who are already struggling, will fall even further behind."

The charity said it was important the fuel allowance was increased in 2020 because its value had diminished in recent years due to energy price hikes.

However, it said offsetting carbon tax increases with the fuel allowance rise was insufficient as the payment was highly means tested.

"Low income households in rural areas, working poor households and those living in poorly insulated homes in the private rented sector will be particularly impacted by this decision," it said.

Irish Independent

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