Tuesday, October 19, 2021
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Energy costs and contraception top readers’ minds after Budget 2022

Energy was to the fore for Irish Times readers as they examined the measures announced by Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath in Budget 2022.

Readers taking part in a live online Q&A session at The Irish Times on Wednesday were particularly interested in the fuel allowance scheme, which helps financially vulnerable people with their heating bills over the winter.

Mr McGrath, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, announced a €5 increase in the fuel allowance which, unlike other welfare increase, kicks in immediately as price increases of close to 50 per cent by energy suppliers this year mean people are already facing significantly higher bills.

That €5 jump is an effective 18 per cent increase in the allowance, bringing it to €33 a week between September and April.

Other readers were more focused on what the budget did and didn’t do in terms of helping families to make their homes more energy efficient. More money was certainly made available through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for energy upgrades by homeowners – €202 million this year – but readers were unsure who will or will not be able to benefit.

And people working from home were interested in the details around the modest additional relief that will be available to them on their utility bills in the new hybrid working world.

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