The Taoiseach has denied a four-fold increase in carbon tax rates is being planned by the Government in a bid to tackle climate change
Leo Varadkar told the Dail that climate action was needed but such a hefty increase was not being considered.
“There is an absolutely no prospect of a carbon tax increase of that scale or anything remotely approaching it being proposed by this Government in the next budget,” he said.
“If there is an increase in the carbon tax, it is my strong view that the money should be ring-fenced, and given back to people in the form of increases in fuel allowance to protect those who are least well-off, in the form of increased tax credits, in the form of a dividend model,” he said.
He made the remarks in response Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, who maintained penalising families was not the way to fight climate change.
She said Sinn Fein would not support any carbon tax increase that did not protect low and medium-income families.
“Loading another layer of cost and tax on ordinary people is not going to change behaviour and yet you seem intent on pursing this course of action,” she said.
“Unless you put in place measures to give families alternatives, a carbon tax is just a punitive one and must absolutely be opposed.”
Mr Varadkar said climate action was required as Ireland was “well behind” meeting emissions targets and needed to catch up.
“Carbon tax will not solve the problem of climate change but we won’t solve the problem of climate change without carbon tax,” he said.
“It is and has to be part of the solution.”
He added that the point of a carbon tax is that it is done in a way that would nudge people and corporations to change their behaviour.
- Press Association