A recent conference run by the Irish charity "Energy Action" heard some shocking statistics on fuel poverty in Ireland. Among the frightening facts discussed were:
(1) Ireland has a higher winter mortality rate than even Norway which is much colder.
(2) Winter excess deaths in Ireland stand at 650.
(3) It is possible that Ireland could have a fuel poverty level of 50% in five years time.
(4) During the winter there are some 1,600 extra hospital admissions taking up 153,028 extra bed days, and costing an extra €61 million.
Death by Taxation?
Am I surprised - no not at all - I have held this belief for some time now, and also believe that the recent hikes in taxation on essential heating fuels had added greatly to the problem. What price tax revenue?
With heating oil some 20 - 25+% more expensive than in Northern Ireland due mainly to the Republic's swingeing taxes, Ireland, once known as the "Island of Saints and Scholars", is rapidly becoming the "Island of Sufferings and Sorrows"
On coal and briquettes the government takes 13.5-% VAT. Even on environmentally friendly carbon neutral wood fuels there is 13.50% VAT effectively countering any spending on promoting sustainability - why would you use wood briquettes etc. when coal is cheaper. Take the VAT off carbon neutral fuels and give them a chance.
The Poor, as always, must pay for the excesses of the Rich
It is a clear cut and dried case where the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable must pay for the greed and excesses of the bankers, the speculators, and the rich. The price in many cases is death.