A Carrick-on-Suir councillor has accused the government of allowing ‘sneaky’ attacks on the most hard-pressed.
Cllr Kieran Bourke has described the Public Service Levy on electricity bills as ‘ridiculous, cynical and sneaky and the hallmark of a Government and political class that just can’t see how hard it is on a daily basis for ordinary families to just get by.
He said the charge had gone from €19.33 per annum in 2011 to €64.37 this year with the latest increase due in October.
He claimed the ‘stealth’ tax’ had raised €131.2m in 2013 and is forcast to generate €210.9m this year.
“What is is this sneaky tax used for”, he asks.
“It is used to subsidise refurbishment of peat burning power stations,it is used to subvent wind farms and solar panels.
“While we can acknowledge the need for “greener” energy why are the poorest and the hardest hit consumers being forced to pay multi billion euro companies a subsidy to develop their businesses.
“This is just cynical and completely wrong. Why are people who struggle to pay the monthly bills being asked to fund power production that they will ultimately have to pay more anyway.
“Why when people are facing a raft of both old and new crippling charges such as the local property tax, water charges, motor tax or the television license.
“Not one of these has fallen, indeed the cost of doing business with the State has only increased over the last 5 years despite the new economic reality for the majority of the people”.
Cllr Bourke said this is unacceptable and should be halted now.
“Why should the average family be forced to invest in projects for which they will get no return, they will get no shares and will be rewarded by only higher prices into the future”, he claimed
“This Government may beat down the doors of local and national media to loudly announce that it cares about the majority who are struggling on a daily basis. But words are cheap and now we realise just how cheap they are.
“In modern Ireland, each and every household requires electricity, this is not a luxury or frivolous extravagance , it is a fundamental requirement, it is an absolute necessity.
“Here in Ireland, we are fourth most expensive in Europe just behind Denmark, Germany and Cyprus. Our electricity costs are 34% higher than the UK, the power companies here are very profitable and the Irish State owns most of the power suppliers in the country”.