Cuts of up to 64% in home insulation grants in Budget 2012 will devastate a specialised sector within the construction industry and put thousands of jobs at risk, according Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader and Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Éamon Ó Cuív.
Deputy Ó Cuív commented, “The government has made drastic cuts to home energy schemes in the Budget for next year, less than 7 months after unveiling their much-anticipated jobs initiative which was heavily dependent on job creation in the home energy sector. Far from creating jobs, the cuts to home insulation grants in this Budget 2012 will put around thousands of jobs at risk.
“As of last week, grants for internal wall insulation have been slashed by 64% for apartments or mid-terrace houses, and 46% for semi-detached and end of terrace houses. For external wall insulation, there are cuts of 55% to the grants available to homeowners in apartments or mid-terrace houses and 33% for semi-detached and end of terrace homes. Grants for attic insulation have been cut by 20%, as have the grants for heating controls and boiler upgrades.
“According to the Sustainable Energy Authority, there are 5,800 people currently employed in this sector. This is a very specialised sector that is completely dependent on demand from households for home insulation products and services. As a result of the Budget 2012, these products have become significantly more expensive particularly for owners of smaller homes. The biggest cuts are in the grants available to apartments and mid-terraced houses, proving that once again this government is singling out lower income families for the greatest cuts. The unfortunate irony is that it is these families that could most benefit from lower home heating bills as a result of better home insulation.
“The grants in this sector are self-financing as the extra VAT, PAYE, USC and PRSI as well as savings in Social Welfare far exceed the amount of grant paid on each house. This is another example of the government’s policy being bad for the people, bad for energy conservation and bad fiscally for the economy.
“By making such substantial cuts to these grants, the government has put home energy schemes out of the reach of thousands of homeowners and threatened the jobs of yet another sector of the Irish economy.”