The government is being called on to scrap plans to increase the Carbon Tax in the next budget, over fears that more people will be in danger of ‘fuel poverty’ due to price increases.

Budget 2022 is due to be announced on Tuesday of next week (October 12) and speaking ahead of it, independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice called for plans to increase the Carbon Tax by €7.50/t to be cancelled.

The tax is currently €33.50/t. An increase would see that rise to €41/t.

“We need to row back on the Carbon Tax, otherwise we will be pushing more and more people towards fuel poverty, not to mention the other knock-on effects.

“When you go to fill your car with diesel, the price is already at approximately €1.50/L. At the beginning of the year, it was 30c cheaper. During the summer of 2020, it was 35c cheaper,” the Roscommon-Galway TD pointed out.

“As it stands, we are almost on a par with prices not seen since 2012 or 2013. And if further increases arise as a result of a jump in the Carbon Tax, then a new record will be set for the price of diesel in this county,” he warned.

On green diesel, Fitzmaurice noted that it has more than doubled in price in the past 12 to 18 months.

The price of green diesel at the moment is around 80c/L.

The TD also pointed to the fact that contractors are concerned over the possibility that the excise duty differential between green diesel and ordinary diesel could be removed in Budget 2022 – meaning a potential jump in the price of green diesel by 50c/L.

“People in urban areas may feel that this shouldn’t worry them. But all of these additional costs will have to be passed on to someone. It will mean that the price of labour will increase and the price of food will have to increase to ensure a viable living for farm families,” Fitzmaurice stressed.

He concluded: “Further increasing the Carbon Tax will have a crippling impact on people trying to live and work in rural Ireland. We need to row back on it in the next budget, not increase it.”