- 30 Jan 23
The financial burden of the cost-of-living crisis is expected to worsen as the government admits it cannot continue to support all current measures after February.
According to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the current cost-of-living measures are likely to come to a halt soon.
The warning comes a month before the 2022 measures expire, although the Government hasn't yet met to decide which will be discontinued. When they do, the Cabinet will evaluate which programme should be prioritised for funding.
Last years' measures to mitigate the cost-of-living crisis included cutting excise duty on petrol and diesel, cutting VAT ("value-added tax") in the hospitably sector, €200 energy credits for households, and the introduction of the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS).
While Varadkar confirmed to the Irish Examiner that certain policies would remain, including the reduction of childcare costs, no clarification for the other policies' retention has been released, or even drafted.
"We just don't have the resources to do so but there isn't going to be a cliff edge. What will happen over the course of the next few weeks is the relevant ministers will sit down with the Minister of Public Expenditure and the Minister for Finance and we'll work out which measures we can continue and which ones we can't."
"We will try and do that as quickly as possible in the next couple of weeks so that people have certainty long before the end of February."
The 2023 budget, announced in September, announced that domestic electricity customers will get €600 of credit, in three instalments of €200, to reduce energy bills. The second instalment was released in January and the last will be made in March.
Before the Varadkar's recent announcement, there were talks and hopes about continuing the energy credit an extra installation, due in May.
INOU, the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, tweeted: "It is important that the government remain aware, when considering letting the cost of living measures expire, that the underlying conditions that made these measures necessary have not changed for the better."
Other groups that provide aid, like the St Vincent de Paul, pleaded for more volunteers as calls for assistance reach record levels. The charity says that assistance requests are mostly about a lack of food, heat, and clothing.
SVP Northern Ireland Appeals for donations as requests for help soar by more than 50%. The charity is experiencing a significant increase in requests from people experiencing money worries over food, heat and clothing. https://t.co/Z28xfxbGmC #svpireland pic.twitter.com/jSXmQEvLPE
— SVP - Ireland (@SVP_Ireland) January 24, 2023
Given the worsening homelessness and cost-of-living crisis, the expiration of these measures arrives at the worst time. Nearly one-third of the country is struggling amid the crisis as the situation grows more dire.
Rent has steadily over the past year at astronomical rates. Additionally, the cost-of-living crisis has prompted landlords to sell off their properties, leaving even fewer options for affordable housing and rent. It has contributed to a spike in homelessness.
Foreign companies, like Argos, have pulled away from Ireland's shores citing the cost of operations, inciting a wave of job loss.