Crisis | 

Fuel costs and utility bills to rise as cost-of-living measures unlikely to be extended

Mr Ryan, the Green Party leader, said he does not expect a further extension of the cost-of-living measure beyond February

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan said the key focus is to maintain an appropriate economic approach to the cost-of-living crisis. Photo: Gareth Chaney© Gareth Chaney

Philip RyanIndependent.ie

Petrol, diesel and utility bill costs are set to increase with Environment Minister Eamon Ryan warning cost-of-living excise duty and Vat cuts are not likely to be extended.

The Government cut excise duty on petrol by 21c, diesel by 16c and marked gas oil by 5.4c in April due to record levels of inflation pushing up motoring costs.

Vat on electricity and gas bills was also cut from 13.5pc to 9pc.

Minister Paschal Donohoe extended the duty and Vat reductions to February 28 in the Budget.

However, Mr Ryan, the Green Party leader, said he does not expect a further extension of the cost-of-living measure beyond February.

He said one of the Government’s key focuses is to “maintain an appropriate economic approach to this cost-of-living crisis”.

“In that economic approach you can’t just rely on corporate tax because that’s not a given, so we need excise duty and the likes of those do give us a real broad base,” he said.

“We will have to look at that and see which ones can be or will be reintroduced. I expect a number of them will have to be because we have to make sure we have the money for social welfare, health and other budget needs.”

On motor fuel, Mr Ryan said he created an €18m fund for the haulage industry which allows companies claim between €200 and €1,200 per vehicle depending on the size of their fleet.

“That will kick in around March so if there is, and I expect there will be a return of Vat, excise (and) other levies, it will be compensated for by that measure,” he said.

Mr Ryan said the Government will be helped by the fact that the price of oil and transport fuels have significantly reduced.

“People will remember in the last few months almost, you went to the forecourt and the price would be at €2.10, €2.15 a litre. Now when I look out it’s €1.60, €1.70 whatever, so it has dropped dramatically,” he said.

Newly appointed Finance Minister Michael McGrath said his department is carrying out an assessment of the impact the measures have had for businesses and households.

Mr McGrath said there is “a lot of volatility” in the area of oil and fuel at the moment and it is too early to “make a definitive assessment”.

“We are two months out from those decisions having to be made but I have been engaging already with the officials in relation to the evidence we will need to inform those decisions and then there will be political discussions in the weeks ahead,” he told the Irish Independent.

Earlier this month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar signalled that some of the cost-of-living measures may have to be extended.

“And I think everyone understands that we can’t extend all of those things, but at the same time, with cost of living so high, I think some of them will have to be extended.

"We’ll work that out in the new year,” he said.


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