Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea says thousands of households across the country will be forced to pay out hundreds more euro each year to heat their homes as a result of the Government’s new carbon tax. 

The second phase of the Solid Fuel Carbon Tax came into force yesterday and sees the price of a bag of coal increasing by €1.20 and a bale of briquettes costing 24 cent more.

“This is just the latest in a series of stealth taxes introduced by this Government.  Increasing the cost of coal, turf and home heating oil will affect every home in the country, and will hit the most vulnerable the hardest.  Any household which uses two bags of coal a week for six months of the year will have to fork out an extra €130.  Many homes are already living from paycheque to paycheque and this extra charge could be the tax that pushes them over the edge and into poverty”, commented Deputy O’Dea.

“Social welfare recipients are being hit on the double; the Government slashed the fuel allowance by 6 weeks in Budget 2011 and has now increased the cost of coal and home heating oil.  This extra tax will cause undue hardship to thousands of elderly and vulnerable people as they struggle to deal with this latest increase.

“This tax will affect low income families the most.  There’s no discrimination between those who can pay and those who can’t, and anyone who doesn’t have the money will be forced to go without.  What sort of Minister can stand over that choice?  This is a cold hearted and insensitive tax that should not be implemented at this time.   This Government is refusing to take ability to pay into consideration, and has brought in a raft of stealth taxes over the past three years.  Ministers are refusing to listen to appeals to put these charges on hold, choosing instead to preside over a country where the poor are becoming poorer and living standards for the most vulnerable are plummeting year on year”.