Decision on future of cost of living supports next month, Taoiseach tells Dáil

Leo Varadkar says there will be ‘no cliff edge’ with supports withdrawn abruptly

Leo Varadkar says no 'firm decisions' have been made yet. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said there will be an announcement by the middle of next month on the future of the State’s cost of living financial supports.

Mr Varadkar said ministers are due to sit down next week and look at which measures might be continued.

The reduced VAT rate for gas and electricity are due to expire at the end of February, as are the reduced rates of excise duty for petrol, diesel and home heating oil and the ban on energy disconnections.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on Tuesday, Independent TD Joan Collins said such supports had helped but were not “targeted enough”.


The Dublin South Central TD said her recent gas bill was €780, up from €347 from the same time last year, with the same amount of units used.

Ms Collins said there were a lot of people who “have to worry every day about how they will put food on the table, how they will keep the lights on and keep a roof over their family’s heads”.

In response, Mr Varadkar repeated there wouldn’t be a “cliff edge” at the end of February in terms of the cost of living supports.

“A number of measures that were due to end at the end of February are now under review,” he said. “We acknowledge that we’re going to need to do something to help people with the rising cost of living throughout the spring.

“We haven’t made any firm decisions on that. The key ministers involved will sit down next week and look at options with a view to making an announcement certainly by the middle of the month so that people have certainty going into March.”

The Taoiseach said he agreed financial supports “needed to be targeted”.

“There are a number of options that we need to consider and [it] probably wouldn’t be useful for me to speculate on the options now because it might just raise expectations, but it is something that we will discuss next week,” he added.

“I agree that the measures need to be targeted. It might be the case that there are still some universal measures, but generally speaking, they need to be targeted, for those who need them the most and those who are struggling the most and those on fixed incomes.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times