Prices Are Up- We Need Real Action Now
Inflation in Ireland has hit 9.6% and this will cause real suffering. Earlier this week, it was also announced that we had the second-highest food prices in the EU.
Electric Ireland only today announced it will be increasing residential gas bills by 29.2%, and electricity bills by 10.9% from next month.
The government says it will do nothing until the budget. It is sticking with its dogma that it cannot 'interfere’ in the market. Its message is that 'nothing can be done’ until we throw you a few scraps in the budget.
It is nonsense. The government has the power to impose price caps on electricity but refuses to do so. France, for example, has a much lower rate of inflation because it has limited energy price rises to 4%.
On top of that, there are two specific ways that prices could be cut. Here they are:
Rents in Ireland are incredibly high. Many people are forced to spend nearly half their income on rents.
This government is more concerned about landlords than tenants and that is why it has allowed so many loopholes in the rent pressure zones.
A landlord has only to claim that they are undertaking substantial renovations or having a family member move in. They can then evict existing tenants and push up rents for new tenants.
This explains why rents rose by 9% last year and why one-third of landlords are breaching the limits in the Rent Pressure Zones.
People Before Profit are bringing forward a bill to change all this.
On 13th July, the Dail will debate a Rent Reductions bill proposed by our TDs. This will:
- Limit rents to a maximum of 25% of median household income.
- Set to a National Rents Authority composed of tenant and employee representatives.
- This authority will ascertain the median household income in each local area.
- The new maximum rent will apply immediately to new tenancies and within one year top existing tenancies.
We are urging all supporters to get outside the Dail on Wednesday 13th July at 5pm to support this bill.
Sending your child to a school in Ireland will cost over €1,000. Many families are forced to take out debt to pay these costs. As prices for electricity, food and petrol increase, this is just too much. We need immediate action to stop it.
There are five main elements to school costs.
- Parents are asked for a 'voluntary contribution’ to the running costs of the school. This can range from between €50 to €300. But there is no need for such a contribution if the full running costs of the school were paid by the state. The 'voluntary contribution’ is a fiction that was originally set up to enable the churches to maintain control over the school. We need to abolish these contributions and bring schools under full public democratic control.
- School Books: These can cost over €200 in a secondary school. Companies like Folens keep on issuing new editions and charging high prices. We need to give children free school books -and set up a publishing house in the Department of Education to provide them.
- Uniforms. Schools do deals with local businesses to make a special uniform which costs a lot. This practice should be outlawed. There is no great need for uniforms or at the very least there could be a basic generic one.
- Over 120,000 children rely on the school transport system. Parents must pay €100 for each child in primary school or €350 for each secondary school child. This should be provided for free. It would cut back on car use and also help mitigate against climate change.
- Clothing and Footwear. These are the day-to-day costs of children. The existing Back to School Footwear and Clothing Allowance must be extended to all those in need.
There are many things a government could do to beat inflation. But this one will do nothing now. Let’s get on the streets for a big mobilisation on October 1st to force them to act.
People Before Profit