The carbon levy, introduced in Budget 2010, is not just about reducing our dependency on fossil fuels, it is also about ensuring the poorest in our society have comfortable, warmer, homes.
This is the view of Green senator Niall Ó Brolcháin who said the “ongoing cold snap” justifies the Green’s policy of investment in home energy insulation for low-income families.
In 2009 a total of €50 million was set aside for low income private homes and rented local authority housing to allow low income families make their homes warmer and more energy efficient as well as cutting their fuel bills and reducing pollution.
According to Sen Ó Brolcháin those who have availed of this scheme have been able to cut their heating bill by up to €700 a year. He said Budget 2010 has further improved this scheme, as the Carbon Levy introduced in the Budget will be increased to €76 million this year with a further €64 million for other private homes. In addition the winter fuel allowance will be increased by 11 per cent to provide direct assistance to those most vulnerable.
“For low income families,” Sen Ó Brolcháin said, “fuel accounts for a larger share of their day to day expenditure and with many families struggling to pay the bills they may be particularly vulnerable during this cold snap.”