Budget 2020 includes strong measures to help us meet our climate change obligations in Cork, according to Fine Gael General Election Candidate for Cork North West Cllr. John Paul O’Shea.
Cllr. O’Shea said: “Protecting the environment with cleaner air, warmer homes and sustainable businesses is absolutely imperative in the context of climate change. While Brexit represents our most immediate economic risk, climate change is without doubt the defining challenge of our generation.
“The measures undertaken in this budget will raise €6.5billion for climate action and just transition over the next ten years through modest but meaningful increases in carbon tax,” Cllr. O’Shea said.
Budget 2020 will allow us to:
“This Government is taking the actions needed to secure a sustainable, resilient Ireland for future generations.
“We now have the first ever all of Government response to Climate Action. This work began last year with the all-party Oireachtas committee, chaired by Fine Gael’s Hildegarde Naughton making recommendations to Minister Richard Bruton.
“There is cross-party support to increase the price of carbon from €20 today to €80 per tonne by 2030.
“Experience has shown us that you can take the right environmental actions for the right reasons but it is essential that the public understands why these measures are being taken.
“We know that this will not be easy for everyone. So, instead of a big hike in any one year, we are committing to a series of small and planned annual increases of €6 per year.
“The approach taken by this Fine Gael led Government – a series of small and planned increase – will give people time to plan. It means homeowners will be able to see a greater payback from improving their home insulation. It will mean they aren’t tied to a fossil fuelledcar, that instead they consider an electric or hybrid vehicle.
“All of the money being collected will be ring-fenced to fund new climate action and to protect those most exposed to higher fuel and energy costs and for whom new jobs must be found. Over the next decade this will raise more than €6 billion to be used in this way.
“In order to minimise the impact of the increase on heating costs, the increase on home heating fuels will be delayed until 1st May 2020.
“A total of €52.8 million is being made available to retrofit the homes of people living in or at risk of energy poverty through the Warmer Homes Scheme. This represents the biggest ever allocation for the Warmer Homes Scheme – more than double the initial allocation for 2019. €13 million of this funding is ring-fenced revenue arising from the increase in the Carbon Tax.
“We are also increasing the rate of Fuel Allowance by €2 a week to €24.50. This is a payment to people on long-term social welfare payments, in particular pensioners. This means an annual increase of €56 and according to ERSI data, this will leave those households better off than before the increase in the carbon tax.
“Let’s not forget what taking climate action means. It means warmer homes, cleaner air and more sustainable, resilient businesses,” concluded Cllr. O’Shea.