Rural TDs have called on the government to take immediate action on the cost-of-living crisis by using some of the record energy taxes collected from soaring bills to allievate pressure on hard-pressed taxpayers.
Speaking from Leinster House, the leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, said that the collection of €2.16 billion in energy taxes, including €760 million in carbon taxes, in 2022 meant that a full extension of all cost-of-living supports for a minimum of six more months starting March 1st should be backed by the government.
“My colleagues and I in the Rural Independent Group are demanding relief for the public from government-imposed energy taxes. We need to see immediate action from the government in regards to the severe impact of energy taxes on rural residents. The government’s current energy tax policies, including the increase in VAT revenues from fuel and energy, are having a profound effect on those who have no alternative but to rely on oil for heating, vehicles for commuting and farming activities, and Agri-vehicles for farming operations.”
“Despite the government’s claims of providing relief through credits on electricity bills, the collection of €2.16 billion in energy taxes, including €760 million in carbon taxes, in 2022 reveals their true motivations. This unprecedented amount of tax revenue, up over €400 million on the previous year, is a clear indication of exploitation and disregards the well-being of the citizens.”
“The government made more money from VAT last year (€18.6 billion, an increase of €3.2 billion, or 20.5 per cent, on the same period in 2021), despite people’s living costs going up. This is because VAT is added to things like goods and services and when the cost of those things goes up, so does the amount of VAT the government gets.”
“In overall terms, despite the cost-of-living squeeze the government cummulative VAT receipts for last year stood a €18.6 billion. This is reflective of the government benefitting when people are forced to pay more for goods and services due to inflationary pressures,” he said.
“We are again calling for the reduction of the energy VAT rate and carbon tax to zero, until this crisis passes. Despite our repeated attempts to push for relief measures, our proposals have been consistently voted against by party TDs from Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and the Green Party. The government’s lack of transparency and specific relief measures is unacceptable, and we are again demanding immediate clarification on the extension of all cost-of-living support measures until at least the end of August 2023.”
“The high cost of energy and carbon taxes is putting an enormous strain on the tight budgets of rural communities, farmers, and vulnerable citizens who rely on vehicles and heating systems. The collection of approximately €760 million in carbon taxes exploits not only urban dwellers but also rural residents, making it imperative that the government finds alternative ways to raise funds without exploiting society’s most vulnerable members.”
In conclusion, Deputy Mc Grath emphasized, “It is imperative that the government puts the well-being of its citizens first, rather than seeking to profit off their struggles through exploitative taxes. We demand immediate action from the government to provide relief and put an end to this unjust financial burden on ordinary people. The government must stop exploiting its citizens for financial gain and prioritize the well-being of its citizens above all else.”