Tale of two cities when it comes to cost-of-living crisis

London and Dublin have taken very different approaches to easing the financial burdens on households as inflation spikes

It is interesting to note the different approaches taken in Dublin and London to the cost-of-living crisis.

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak has decided that all households are to receive £200 (€239) off their energy bills. But they will have to pay the discount back by £40 a year over five years from 2023. This is part of a £7 billion package of measures to alleviate the financial burden on households as inflation spikes post pandemic.

Here a credit/rebate of €200 will be paid by the State for each household, with no strings attached. This is the centrepiece in a €505 million package from the Government aimed at easing the financial pain for consumers this year.

The Government has also decreed that a 20 per cent reduction in public transport fares will apply from May. The details will be worked out between the National Transport Authority and the various operators.


In essence, every fifth bus, Luas or Dart trip will be free once the cuts are implemented. The move will cost the State €54 million.

By contrast, London mayor Sadiq Khan has unveiled the biggest rise in public transport fares in the city in a decade, in an effort to rebuild the London transport authority’s finances.

Fares on Transport for London services, including the Tube and buses, will rise by 4.8 per cent from March 1st. No free rides on London transport this year.

Khan said the changes were a condition of emergency funding provided by central government to help Transport for London’s finances survive a collapse in passenger numbers during the pandemic.

Perhaps because of its comfortable majority in parliament, and notwithstanding the Partygate controversies, the British government is taking a rather tougher fiscal stance on dealing with the costs of Covid-19.

In Dublin, with Sinn Féin rising in the polls, the three-party coalition of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party has taken a more populist route in the hope of winning voter approval. Predictably, the €505 million package wasn’t enough to satisfy the Opposition and it’s not clear if it will ultimately win voter approval next time we go to the polls.