Record inflation hitting workers and families hard – The Rural Independent Group

The Leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, has warned that spiralling inflation at record levels is having a major impact on workers and families. Speaking today, Deputy Mc Grath, said:

“The latest EU data indicates that inflation across the eurozone rose by a further record 5 percent in December alone. This destroys the government’s argument that inflation is transitory, as increased price pressures are remaining high.” 

“Rising consumer costs on everything from groceries to home heating and electricity are having a crippling impact on Irish workers and families.”

“Many households have experienced a significant income drop due to Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, while outgoings continue to climb. This is putting huge pressure on people’s finances and putting many into a financial crisis situation.”

“This week, for instance, a senior executive on the board of the ECB, Ms. Isabel Schnabel, warned that the green energy push aimed at tackling climate change is likely to keep energy prices higher for longer and may force the European Central Bank (ECB) to withdraw its stimulus and increase interest rates more quickly than planned.”

“We know that the crisis is far from over, yet recent consumer surveys show that spending is not coming back yet. This signals that the runaway printing of money by the ECB, which is supported by our government, is not reaching ordinary households. Instead, as we argued previously, this money printing is by and large going to the large corporations and banking institutes.”

“We have seen little or no urgency from the Government to support households. My Group colleagues and I brought forward a Dáil Motion last November, seeking actionable measures, including myriad tax cuts on all energy bills, together with a €250 voucher for  low-income households, to address crippling energy and transport costs.”

“During 2021, the Government stood idly by and collected the increased taxes, while energy companies were allowed to increase prices on households through more than 30 price hikes. Prior to these hikes, Irish households were already paying the highest electricity prices in Europe.”

“The Government’s December announcement, to provide a payment of €100 to households to assist with electricity costs, is grossly insufficient to address inflationary pressures, which are now out of control. Such a Government announcement was measly – with no implementation timeframe provided – and amounts to a scenario of ‘too little, too late.’”

“Our proposals set out tangible and realistic measures to address, in particular, the record high energy costs’ crisis. Unfortunately, like many other viable proposals put forward by our Group, they were rejected by the Government, who seemingly and regrettably prefers to play politics with such issues, rather than deal in the currency of real solutions.”

“We need to see structured governmental action on the crippling costs of living. The stagnant wages or welfare supports are not keeping pace with the skyrocketing inflationary increases, and this is leading to a 1970s style wage-price spiral,” concluded Deputy Mc Grath.