Local Fianna Fáil Councillor Aengus O’Rourke has said that Ireland’s competitiveness is under attack by rising energy costs.
“With the latest CSO figures showing that rising energy costs are swallowing up last year’s tax cuts, it’s clear that working and investing in Ireland is not as attractive as it once was. It has been estimated that electricity prices have increased to the tune of €125 over the past 12 months, with average gas bills now coming in at €65,” Cllr. O’Rourke stated.
Cllr. O’Rourke expressed his concern that householders’ c ost of living increases have cancelled out any income increase that may have been received as a result of last year’s budget.
“Householders are seeing their bank balances take hit month on month and any gains that were made in last year’s budget have been lost. Rising energy costs hit consumers and businesses alike. For consumers it results in a hit to discretionary expenditure causing lower spending in local shops and businesses. For businesses, margins are being squeezed and profits eliminated. The ability of businesses to expand and take on new employees is being severely hampered, the Councillor noted.
The Athlone Deputy Mayor fears that with winter imminent, further energy costs increase will effect households financially.
“Further energy price hikes are now expected this winter and the Government seem happy to stand idly by as households feel the squeeze and businesses suffer from a lack of competitiveness. Cost of living under every metric is increasing. Housing, childcare, insurance, transport and now energy costs are all going up with little respite for homeowners and businesses. Unless the Government moves to address these costs, we risk making investment in Ireland less attractive with the net result being lower jobs numbers and lower spending in the economy,” Cllr. O’Rourke concluded.