Fuel prices rise as Dáil passes Budget 2020 carbon tax increase
Some key taxation elements of Budget 2020 were passed by the Dáil last night, including the controversial increase in the carbon tax.
The number of deputies who voted in favour of the measure was 97, with only 36 opposing the increase and two TDs abstaining.
Accordingly, both petrol and diesel increased by 2 cent a litre at midnight.
The move was part of a Government plan to increase the price of carbon from €20 to €80 a tonne by 2030.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defended the increase in the carbon tax, saying it was about protecting the most vulnerable and addressing climate action.
“What we have done today is really significant,” he told RTÉ News last night.
The increase will come into effect for other fuels from May next year after the winter heating season.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the funds raised would be ring-fenced to fund new climate action measures.
However, there was criticism of the move from members of the Opposition.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the €6 increase in the tax was regressive and punitive.
He said it would increase fuel bills for those who are struggling.
However, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said it did not go far enough, saying it was a status quo Budget from a status quo Government.
He said it did very little when it comes to tackling climate change.
Sinn Féin’s Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the Budget should have done more to give workers and families a break.
Labour leader Brendan Howlin said the poorest cohort of people would be worse off as a result of Budget 2020.
Other measures that were passed included increasing the price of 20 cigarettes by 50 cent, hiking the bank levy and also increasing stamp duty on the sale of non-residential property by 1.5%.
There were also measures passed to counter tax avoidance by large real estate funds.
Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall said her party fully recognises the huge challenges facing the country in respect of Brexit, but the threat should not be used as some kind of cover for the Government in not addressing domestic issues in the Budget.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she said there were a number of challenges such as the housing crisis and serious problems within the health service and what was seen yesterday was an attempt to ignore these issues or address them adequately.
The Chief Executive of Irish Rural Link said rural communities are disappointed with the increase in carbon tax.
Séamus Boland said people will “take it on the chin” but the tax, which is designed to change behaviour, probably will not have the required effect because most people cannot afford to change.
Mr Boland added that the cost is even greater for households dependent on home heating oil and called for retrofitting to be made available “across the board” to low income households.
Further statements on the Budget will be heard in the Dáil shortly after midday, while Minister Donohoe will be on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke from 10am.
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