The Governments belated recognition of the need to cut excise duty should be recognized and welcomed, but they are – as the old saying goes – another bad case of arriving to the crisis a day late and a dollar short, independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said.
Speaking on the matter, he added: “The Government’s response to this crisis is one of milk and water. While the cuts announced have to be welcomed, I don’t believe they go far enough to alleviating the problem.
“The current crisis is so widespread it is affecting every aspect of the economy from agriculture and food security, to the building trade and the capacity of people to even afford to get to work.
“Such is the extent of the crisis, even school bus contractors find it impossible to operate. The Government’s proposals, whilst representing a start, are not radical enough.
“They are merely keeping the lid on the pot and will be swiftly taken over by events. The Government needs, if it is to build confidence, to engage in far more radical acts.
“It should especially target VAT, a further tax upon a tax, in a similar manner to the way VAT was slashed for the hospitality industry during austerity.
“The extent of the current crisis cannot be underestimated. I am, for example, now constantly getting calls from bus drivers who tendered with the Department of Education to bring children to school. They are throwing their contracts back because there is no surcharge on them.
“Lorry drivers are also parking lorries and walking away. A social explosion is about to happen in the next week or two if the Government does not respond effectively to this crisis.
“Carbon taxes are no longer just a climate change issue. It is impacting on all sectors of society, be it farmers using green diesel or people who need home heating oil or those families who are choosing between fuel and food.
“I do not want to hear about fuel allowances and everything like that. I am talking about people who do not qualify for those schemes and who are working every day.
“We are dangerously close now to an inflationary bubble across the entire productive economy.
“The people who get up early to go to work want to be reassured that the Government will be effective, courageous, innovative and forensic. The evidence of this, on today’s measures, is not good.
“If the Government response does not improve, the coalition will face a summer, autumn and winter of discontent from an increasingly disillusioned public,” Fitzmaurice concluded.
For further information contact Michael Fitzmaurice at 086-1914565