Shop around instead of ‘complaining’ about cost-of-living issues, junior minister says

Seán Fleming suggests people switch utility providers and where they shop amid crisis

People should look to switch their utility providers and where they shop rather than "complaining" about what the Government was doing to tackle the rising cost of living, a Fianna Fáil junior minister has said.

Minister of State with responsibility for financial services Seán Fleming said people could save hundreds of euro by swapping providers and suppliers and where they shop.

High rates of inflation pushing up household costs were expected to continue for "several months", Mr Fleming told RTÉ radio's Drivetime on Monday.

The Cabinet is to meet on Tuesday to discuss a range of measures aimed at addressing the rising cost of living, a discussion that is expected to focus on possible reductions of charges for utilities or other services.

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The public should not expect a “mini-budget” but instead a range of “once-off” measures, Mr Fleming said in relation to such plans. The proposals would not include any change to VAT rates, he added.

“This inflation we expect will be with us for several months but not for several years, so we want to do some items this year that will be once-off,” he said. “What we’re talking about here is measures coming in as quickly as possible,” he added.

‘Serious impact’

Mr Fleming advised people to shop around for offers from other utility providers and suppliers, “rather than just complaining about what the Government is going to do for me”.

The Fianna Fáil TD for Laois-Offaly said that changing providers could have a “serious impact” on a household’s finances, but involved people having “to do the work themselves”.

Households should look at swapping electricity and gas suppliers, as well as insurers and which supermarkets they shopped in, he said.

“If you move around you can get better prices, and that’s in our own hands,” he said. Weekly shopping bills could be reduced if people were “careful” about where they shopped, he said.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times