Commitment to ring-fence all carbon tax revenue must be enshrined in legislation, says climate campaigners  

Just Transition fund must now urgently deliver to protect communities in the midlands region 

October 8 2019, 01:41pm

Commenting on the Government’s announcement in Budget 2020, of plans to ring fence the revenue raised from the carbon tax increase for climate action measures, Catherine Devitt, Head of Policy with the Coalition said,

“We need to see further detail from the Government on how exactly the ringfenced revenue will be allocated across climate action measures. We also need commitment from the Government that they will do the necessary groundwork between now and May 2020 when a hike in the cost of heating fuel will come into effect in May 2020.”

“The increase in the fuel allowance will help minimise the impact on those experiencing energy poverty, however, it is questionable whether or not this top-up rebate will sufficiently tackle the scale of fuel poverty in Ireland, and a significant number of poeple  in fuel poverty are not eligible for this allowance.”

“It is crucial that the Government carry out the recommended review on the impacts of energy poverty as a result of the price hike, and implement the appropriate supports that will minimise the burden on those most affected, particularly on those not eligible for current welfare payments.” “This should also include updating the Government’s current Strategy to combat energy poverty, which is due to expire at the end of 2019, and proactively engaging with representative bodies working directly on behalf of those most adversely affected by a tax increase.”

“Commitment to increase the carbon tax over the next decade and agreement that proceeds from the carbon tax will be ring-fenced must now be enshrined into legislation. This will be essential to ensuring that the necessary price signal can be built into investment decisions.”

The Coalition expressed a cautious welcome in response to announcements regarding a Just Transition for communities in the midlands region. Commenting, Catherine Devitt highlighted the positive emphasis in the Budget on working with communities in the region to identify key priorities going forward. 

“Considering the delay in putting in place a Just Transition plan for communities across the midlands region, it is crucial that the Government now work with all stakeholders, including local communities in the region. They must also ensure that the new Just Transition Commissioner has the relevant authority and resources to ensure a process is put in place to ensure people’s livelihoods are protected going forward.”

"The urgency in which the Government will now deliver on the Just Transition Fund will be an important litmust test for how committed they are in protecting those most vulnerable in the shift to a low carbon future"