I took the time to think about Fine Gael in Kilkenny to meet families and businesses in the constituency. The number one issue on the doorstep of Carlow town and among businesses in Kilkenny was the cost of living and the cost of doing business, with people worried about paying their bills and rising energy prices and electricity.
They all wanted to know that the government was going to help. That’s exactly what we’re going to do: cushion the shock of the rising cost of living.
As winter approaches, we know we need to protect households from the worst effects of the energy crisis and ensure businesses can retain their staff.
- We must help households manage their energy bills and the cost of living in this difficult time, and we must prevent businesses from laying off staff due to high energy costs;
- We also need to have a good tax system, to make sure middle-income people keep more of their hard-earned money. Too many people see any additional income gobbled up in additional income taxes. We need to make sure that if you get a raise this year, you don’t lose half of it in taxes. More income means people have more resources to meet the rising cost of living;
- We must help the most vulnerable people in our society. There must be a safety net for pensioners, disabled people and carers. In the past, we have done this in various ways; by taking €200 off your energy bills or paying extra fuel allowances.
We need to reform our energy market because the way we currently price electricity simply does not work. We need to invest more in renewable energy and in new ways of storing energy, such as batteries and interconnects, to help stabilize energy prices.