The Government must act now to tackle the cost of living crisis, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection Claire Kerrane TD has said.
Teachta Kerrane was speaking as she published the results of her cost of living survey today, which showed the pressures workers and families are under due to rising costs. More than 14,000 people took part in the survey.
“The Government must act now to tackle the cost of living crisis. The cost of living is out of control. This is a real crisis and there needs to be clear action from the government now,” Ms Kerrane said.
“More than 14,000 people took part in my survey about the cost of living crisis. The results are shocking and expose the stark reality of how urgent this crisis is and the pressure that workers and families are under due to spiralling costs.
“People’s incomes are staying the same, while costs are continuing to increase across fuel, rents, childcare, groceries, healthcare, and energy bills; to name just a few.
“This is putting huge financial pressure on people, as they struggle to keep on top of their bills every month.”
She thanked everyone who took part in the survey, saying their “stories are shocking and expose the reality and extent of this crisis”.
“76% of people said they are very concerned about the cost of living. A further 19% said they are quite concerned by it,” Deputy Kerrane said.
“77% said that the cost of living crisis has had a negative impact on their mental health.
“98.5% of people said that they believe the government is not doing enough to tackle the cost of living crisis.
“Pensioners spoke of being afraid to open their energy bills, as they knew they wouldn’t be able to pay them. Workers spoke of being forced to choose between buying food or filling up a tank of petrol.
“Young families spoke of the crippling anxiety of paying childcare fees, which often cost as much as a second mortgage or rent each and every month. One young woman told me about her desire to start a family and how she fears she simply won’t be able to afford to have a child.”
One key step to ease these financial pressures this winter is for the Government to remove VAT from domestic energy bills, she said.
“Energy prices have risen by 25 percent, while the cost of home heating oil has soared by a staggering 71 percent. The government increase in Carbon tax is pushing bills up further, putting more families under real pressure. This government is ignoring how much pressure households are under this winter.
“The first step they can take is to remove VAT from domestic energy bills for low and middle income households this winter.
“Secondly, the Government must cut rents and then freeze them. Thirdly, they must scrap carbon tax hikes.
“Sinn Féin will stand up for ordinary workers and families to end this cost of living crisis and ensure they get a break.”