News & Media

Fuel allowance payment down €49 versus last winter

14 October 2020

Statement by Seán Sherlock TD
Parliamentary Party Chair and Spokesperson on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands; Agriculture and the Marine
  • Four extra weeks were paid in 2019/2020 season worth €98.
  • Budget increase of €3.50 a week will apply for only 14 weeks from January, worth €49 in 2020//2021 fuel season.

After the failure of the government to provide an extra four weeks of fuel allowance like they did last winter, Labour Social Protection spokesperson Seán Sherlock has highlighted that those receiving the payment will be down a net €49 this winter, calling on the government to provide another four weeks payment again to reverse the effective cut in the amount 375,000 will receive this winter.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“Four extra weeks of fuel allowance were paid in the 2019/2020 season in April, worth €24.50 a week or a total of €98.

“In the Budget those much needed four extra weeks were not retained, but the payment will increase instead by €3.50 from January. However, that increase will only apply over 14 weeks for the 2020/2021 fuel season and is worth €49 or half what people received this year. That is in effect a cut.

“For the 375,000 people relying on fuel allowance this winter, they will have nearly €50 less to spend to keep themselves warm.

“In the middle of this pandemic, older and vulnerable people are spending more time at home but will receive less this winter then they did in the one just gone. Even taking account of the increase across all of 2021 for 28 weeks split between the first 14 weeks and last 14 weeks of the year in the 2021/2022 fuel season, the value of the extra payment would be €98, exactly the same as what was provided in the extra four weeks in April just gone.

“However, taking that into account, we must also remember that the Carbon Tax increase on fuel comes into effect in May. So next winter people will be facing higher heating bills but without any real extra financial support from the fuel allowance payment.

“I am calling on the government even at this late stage to take on board Labour’s suggestion of providing an extra 4 weeks of fuel allowance this winter.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Fuel allowance is paid over 28 weeks from the end of September through to March.

  • Due to Covid-19 the 2019/2020 fuel season was extended by an extra 4 weeks. This was worth €98 to recipients. (€24.50 by four weeks).
  • In 2021 the payment will increase by €3.50 a week from January, which over a full 28 weeks would be worth €98 but only 14 of the weeks in this year’s fuel season will be paid at the higher rate which is worth €49

That means people on fuel allowance this winter will be down €49 compared with 2019/2020. For the next winter they’ll also face more expensive fuel due to a higher Carbon tax.

That means people will be worse off than 2020, as no increase straight away, and they will be down money because the Carbon Tax increased by €7.50 a tonne from May will hit cost of heating home.