The heritage minister has rebuffed calls for the Carbon Tax to be reduced amid rising fuel prices, saying it is vital in order to fund the national retrofit programme.
ith many petrol stations now charging more than €2 a litre for petrol and diestel, Green Party Junior Minister Malcolm Noonan said the Government has already introduced €2.4 billion worth of “interventions” to tackle rising energy costs and there are “no plans to change the Carbon Tax rates”.
He was speaking in response to comments by former environment minister, Independent TD Denis Naughton who said the Government needs to do more to help people who are struggling financially.
Deputy Naughton argued that existing Carbon Taxes should be removed to reduce fuel prices for motorists.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland Deputy Naughton said when he served as environment minister, he wanted to introduce a system where Carbon Taxes would increase when crude oil prices reduced and drop when oil prices increased.
Speaking on the same programme, Minister Noonan said he was “surprised” by Deputy Naughton’s comments which were made “in the depths of a climate emergency”.
“Government has intervened with the reduction on the VAT rate on the supply of electricity and gas, the cut in public transport of 20pc and a 50pc in cut in fares for young adults. So, there’s quite a number of interventions, a €2.4 billion package, there that have been in place to try and deal with the rising cost of living and certainly it’s not on the cards to look at the Carbon Tax,” he said.
Minister Noonan said the Carbon Tax cannot be changed because it provides ring-fenced funding for the national retrofit programme. He added the ultimately it will put more money back in “people’s pockets”.
“The Carbon Tax is ring-fenced for the retrofit of homes. It’s playing a significant role, not just in terms of reducing emissions and changing behaviour, but Government is intervening in a positive way in terms of the public transport measures that have already been introduced,” he said.
“I think the point that Denis is making is we as Government have to intervene in a way that is targeted at people most vulnerable and we are doing that in relation to public transport and the fact that the Carbon Tax is being used to offset other costs that people are having, particularly in rural Ireland, and retrofitting of homes.
“So, these are positive interventions that have a lasting impact on people’s pockets.”