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Tuesday 16 January 2018

Lobby groups line up to criticise increase in costs

CHARITIES and industry groups reacted angrily to the news that electricity costs are set to rise by 5pc with the introduction of the new levy.

The public service obligation levy will see a flat charge placed on homes and businesses, to go towards the cost of generating green energy resources.

While Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith defended the new consumer charge yesterday, social groups have labelled the charge as an "unwanted hammer blow" to small businesses.

Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association

"It is beyond belief that the Government is introducing another tax on energy as businesses struggle to stay open," said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding (above).

"We have already experienced an increase in carbon tax on gas and transport costs, with five cents per litre added to the price of diesel and petrol and now we are expected to stomach an increase in electricity prices."

St Vincent de Paul

"The addition of an average of 5pc on household electricity bills from October is yet another blow to the most hard-pressed in Irish Society," a spokesperson said last night.

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association

"Increased costs are absolutely unacceptable at a time when farmers and other businesses are struggling to remain viable," said ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin.

"It is disgraceful that our electricity costs are the third highest in the EU 27 and much more needs to be done to get these into line."

Vintners Federation

of Ireland

"We are haemorrhaging jobs as our pubs close or reduce hours -- 1,500 pubs have closed in the last three years. That's one pub closing every day in Ireland, with subsequent job losses," said VFI president Padraig Cribben.

"This latest measure announced today will only exacerbate this problem and we are in for a very long, painful and cold winter."

Irish Independent

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