CARBON TAX – APRIL 2013
Press Release by Robert Hudson, Crumlin Fuel Depot Coal Merchants Dublin
April 24th. 2013
AFTER COLDEST MARCH EVER, STEALTH “CARBON TAX” ON LOW COST SOLID FUEL TO HIT HARDEST PRESSED HOUSEHOLDS
While the focus of Budget 2013 has understandably been on the residential property tax, the stealth tax introduced by the minister in the form of Carbon Tax on Solid Fuel seems to be largely ignored. Following Ireland’s coldest March on record, the Carbon tax will be applied in two phases, the first of which takes place at midnight on April 30th. 2013 and add about EUR 1.20 to the cost of a bag of Coal and about 26c to a bale of briquettes. A second similar increase will be applied in April 2014.
The total amount of Carbon Tax on Solid Fuel from both phases will hit mostly hard pressed low income families and pensioners with an increase of EUR 2.40 per bag of smokeless coal and 52c per bale of Briquettes. This amounts to, on average, an extra 5 euro per week or 20 euro per month to people already struggling to heat their homes in freezing weather and only adds to the already serious issue of “Fuel Poverty” in this country. It also comes on the back of a reduction by 6 weeks, from 32 weeks to 26 weeks, in the Social Welfare Fuel Allowance announced in Budget 2012.
To put this combined total of around EUR 5 per week of an additional burden on home heating costs into context, the residential tax for a Home Owner in a modest EUR 125,000 house will cost about 4.30 per week. (125,000 x 0.18% = 225 or 4.32 per week). This Carbon Tax will indiscriminately hit those living in social or local Authorithy housing, rental accomodation, along with home owners.
COAL MERCHANTS DUBLIN
Robert Hudson of Crumlin Fuel Depot, Coal Merchants Dublin responded to this proposed increase by saying, “As a Dublin Coal Merchant, I have recently witnessed first hand an elderly lady, living alone, and sitting in the freezing cold in her own home at 5 or 6pm in the evening for fear of turning on the heating and facing a wholly unquantifiable and perhaps unaffordable bill two months or more down the line”. “For many such people the Open Fire or Solid Fuel Stove is the only affordable way of heating their homes, with fuel that they can buy in small manageable amounts, fuel that they can see in their bunker, that is paid for, and that they can easily use as needed each day without fear of unexpectedly running up a huge bill that they may not be able to afford to pay”.
Robert said that other Coal Merchants in Dublin have relayed to him, reports of older people taking round trip bus journeys or lingering for hours in the larger shoppong centres just to get some “free heat” during the coldest days.
Mr Hudson continued “This Carbon Tax is an attack on those who can least afford it, at a time they can least afford it and puts children and the elderly in particular at risk of, at best, misery and distress in their own homes during the freezing winter months, and in the worse case senario, at risk of serious illness or perhaps even death”.
At the same time as the minister is introducing this stealth tax, there is no corresponding carbon tax on Solid Fuel on the other part of this Island. This will lead to the possibility of widespread smuggling of both unregulated “smokeless fuel” and bituminous or old smokey coal throughout the country, and will enevitably result in a reversal in the improvements to air quality in urban areas, a sizable loss to the state in VAT on sales and other tax and employment related losses.
The Dublin coal merchant went on to say “As a revenue raising exercise and as an environmental measure, the entire concept may in fact be totally counterproductive, serving only to snatch money from the purse of an old aged pensioner with little or no real economic or environmental benefit to the state”. Mr Hudson concluded by saying, >”If it is the Government’s intention to reduce energy use, the way to achieve this is by rolling out an affordable and widespread home insulation programme that can successfully achieve a 30% reduction in usage, and not by forcing vulnerable pensioners to sit in the freezing cold for 30% longer”.em>
He is calling on the minster, even at this late stage, to review this carbon tax at a time when most already struggling low to middle income families and those reliant on state pensions or social welfare payments can least afford it.
Notes to Editor
Robert Hudson is the principal of Family run CRUMLIN FUEL DEPOT, COAL MERCHANTS DUBLIN. He has been in the coal business in Dublin for more than 30 years.
He is the 4th. generation of his family of Traditional Dublin Coal Merchants.
Please contact Robert Hudson any time
Tel; 01 459 3861 or 085 7 345 300