The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) has lobbied Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe in a bid to get the Government to consider a delay to the €6 increase of carbon tax on heating oil, used by over 686,000 households across Ireland, and gas oil, used by the farming and construction industry, due in May this year.
Chief Executive Guy Pulham comments: “With the sudden impact that COVID 19 is having on families across Ireland we are concerned that any increase in fuel bills at this moment in time will affect the most vulnerable in society and those living in rural communities. Poorer households will be impacted the most in terms of disposable income, consumption, price increases and welfare if the Carbon tax increases are implemented in May.
“Our members are telling us first-hand, from their customers, that many households are now unemployed due to the Coronavirus and struggling to make ends meet. Irish unemployment rates have leaped in the last month with the Central Statistics Office stating a total of 513,350 people were on the official Live Register at the end of March, including 283,037 receiving the pandemic unemployment payment, and 25,104 covered by the Covid-19 income-subsidy scheme.
“Poorer households spend a greater proportion of their expenditure on energy than richer households and by increasing fuel bills at this moment in time will only create more hardship and we are urging the Government to consider a delay.”
UKIFDA Irish Representative Nick Hayes comments: “The farming industry will also be affected at a time when many are struggling with flooded land and are already worried about 2020 crops. Again, any increase will have to be passed onto consumers which means consumers will see food prices increase as well as energy costs. We need the farming community passionately growing food to help the nation through the COVID 19 crisis rather than worrying about increasing costs and whether their farm will survive.”
22nd April 2020