The Rural Independents has said that Budget 2022 attacks rural communities, consumers and motorists.
It stated “regressive” carbon tax hikes “whack” consumers, motorists and homeowners, whilst “rewarding” banks with “massive” tax cuts.
Leader of the Rural Independent Group, deputy Mattie Mc Grath, described the budget as “deeply unfair and discriminatory”.
“People are rightly angry and dispirited about this government’s ongoing failure to listen to the needs of citizens,” he stressed.
The deputy expressed his dismay at the government’s move to press ahead with a 21% carbon tax hike.
He said this “laid bare” its “fanatical” carbon tax agenda of penalising ordinary Irish people.
Commenting on the matter, he said: “The government will take an extra €109 million from people’s pockets in carbon taxes next year.”
“Yet, it will only give €55 million in fuel allowances, despite the cynical spinning that it is doing people a favour.”
McGrath stated this is despite the devastating consequences for rural households, farmers and motorists, who are already under “tremendous strain” due to the energy cost crisis.
He described “ploughing ahead” with an increase in the rate of carbon tax by €7.50 (from €33.50 to €41.00 per tonne of carbon dioxide emitted) as “reckless”.
The deputy highlighted that the hikes come at a time of the unprecedented energy crisis.
Petrol and diesel prices have already increased by over 2%, with home heating oil almost doubling in cost over the last year alone.
“Furthermore, the main factors driving the increasing energy costs revolve around green energy policies without having sustainable alternatives in place, coupled with this government’s blatant agenda to continue hiking the regressive carbon tax.”
“The budget confirms the government plan to raise an additional €109 million from the carbon tax in 2022. This brings the total carbon tax yield next year to a significant €603 million.”
Fuel allowance and bank levy cut
“Meanwhile, the miserly €5 increase to the fuel allowance will have a much lesser cost of €55.8 million next year.”
“While pensioners and the less well-off will genuinely struggle to heat their homes this winter, due to government-imposed tax increases. Meanwhile, banks were given a special tax reduction deal, with the bank levy cut from the current €150 million to €87 million next year.”
“The government spin that the reduced bank levy is due to KBC and Ulster Bank’s exiting the market. However, both institutions lucrative business activities are being taken over by the other pillar banks.”
“As such, the levy should not be reduced, as the profits will merely be transferred to other banks,” he concluded.
“This glaring example demonstrates where this government’s interventions almost always favour the elites over the public interest of ordinary people.