News & Media

Action needed to reduce fuel poverty

10 December 2019

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs

Responding to today’s St. Vincent de Paul report, 'Growing up in the Cold', Labour spokesperson on Children, Seán Sherlock T.D, said:

“Families today are already faced with massive outgoings, such as rent, childcare and school costs, so it comes as little surprise that many are also struggling with the day-to-day costs, such as heating their homes.

“However it is shocking to find that more than 140,000 children in Ireland today are living in homes with leaks and damp walls or floors, with those in the private rental sector twice as likely to experience fuel poverty.

“We need to ensure homes in the rental sector are at least meeting the basic standard when it comes to energy efficiency.

“There are nearly 350,000 rental properties now registered with the RTB, so it is clear this is an issue impacting a lot of people.

“Labour would introduce a minimum BER rating standard for privately rented properties over a phased-in basis, with the aim to have all rented properties at a C standard by 2030.

“We would also invest in an ambitious home retrofitting scheme, with a €100 million programme to retrofit thousands of Local Authority homes.

“This would operate on a street-by-street basis to maximise efficiency and coverage.

“Labour would properly invest in the Warmer Homes Scheme, and increase the weekly fuel allowance by €2.50, as well as include an extra week’s payment.

“We should also look at the fast tracking of grants to homes where children and older people are currently living in fuel poverty.

“Figures show that Ireland is in the top four most expensive places in the EU for electricity costs, and the second highest in Europe for gas.

“As well as the impact on the environment, these high energy costs are crippling families and leaving children in cold and damp homes. We need to act now to change this.”