Independent Cllr. John Paul O’ Shea has this week written to the Minister for Social Protection Eamon O’ Guiv TD, requesting the government to immediately introduce a new fuel allowance scheme which was promised earlier this year to offset the introduction of the carbon tax.
Following the introduction of the carbon tax in May 2010, the government promised to introduce a new and more enhanced fuel allowance scheme which would offset the associated additional costs for people heating their homes. The cost of fuel has significantly increased over recent months with particular concerns being raised on the increase of home heating oil as a direct result of the introduction of the carbon tax.
The current fuel allowance is €20 per week and is paid to low-income households that are unable to meet their heating needs. The scheme operates for 32 weeks from September to the end of April each year.
Cllr. O Shea said “There is increased worry and anxiety amongst the general public that the current scheme is not sufficient to cater for the heating needs of the elderly, people with disabilities and people on low-income households who all avail of this scheme. The effects of last year’s harsh winter and the introduction of the carbon tax have caused a much greater expense for this cohort of people which is not sustainable for them in the long term. I fear that if we get another cold winter like last year, these vulnerable people will be hardest hit and may not be able to afford to heat their homes. The government must now act on their promise and deliver on the commitment to introduce the new fuel allowance to compensate for the carbon levy before the winter arrives”.