The government will use the higher ESB profits to help lower energy costs for families and businesses
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the government is the shareholder on behalf of the Irish people and “clearly given the scale of profits on the back of the energy crisis, I think the government can look forward to much higher profits than would have been the case before for the (energy) crisis”.
A Co Clare spokesperson said the government would use the proceeds “to support its efforts to reduce pressures on households, as well as protect jobs”.
Elsewhere, Tanist Leo Varadkar said, “I think it is right and appropriate for the government to recoup some of the big profits that some energy companies make.”
When it comes to ESB, he said, it can be done either through a windfall tax or a bigger dividend
“We will use this money to help reduce costs for families and businesses and that is what we intend to do.
Varadkar also said he wanted to see the assisted-to-buy scheme for first-time buyers extended beyond the end of the year, a measure under consideration before the budget.
Earnings at ESB are up in the six months to the end of June amid rising energy prices.
Earnings, including a one-time gain from what it called “exceptional volatility” in global commodity markets, jumped to 390.3 million euros from 128.4 million euros last year.
The group reported revenues of approximately 3.7 billion euros, which was up from around 2.2 billion euros in the previous year.
Taoiseach said the government would introduce a cost-of-living package with the budget to protect families and jobs “as best we can”.
“We will do it with ESB profits, but also with the sudden actions that will be taken at the European level but that will apply to Ireland, and we will also recover some revenue,” he said.
Mr Martin said the Treasury surplus would “certainly be saved in the medium term, to enable us to help people who need assistance due to rising electricity bills, rising energy costs, and general inflation”.
He added: “The government will go through procedures and mechanisms, through energy credits and taxes, and through the Public Service Salary Agreement, by reducing costs in terms of public services, and then through social welfare, to reduce costs in general and give the people who support them to overcome the The unusual bills they currently have.”
Martin warned that energy prices “will rise again in the last quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023,” but the government will respond to help people facing historically high bills.
Earlier this week, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary warned of the dangers of rising inflation and told Virgin Media News: “Government giving €200 energy subsidies to wealthy people like myself is not the way out of this.”
Asked if the airline chief was right, Varadkar said he understood the point Mr O’Leary was making, but said the payments tested were “too complicated…too expensive, too slow to administer, and sometimes not fair.” Always . “
He asked about the point of separation and said that people with good incomes often struggle to pay rent, mortgages and childcare costs.
Varadkar added: “For any well-off in Ireland, whatever they might get in terms of home energy credit, they’re going to pay it back, you know, in income taxes, capital gains tax and property tax.”
Varadkar said he does not believe the upcoming budget will fuel more inflation.
He said that in contrast to the inflationary impact of expansionary budgets in the Celtic Tiger years, it’s a “completely different situation now” with higher interest rates meaning credit is more expensive and billions of euros leaving the country in energy costs.
“That’s why I think if we stay within the parameters that we have set, the expansionary budget will not be inflationary,” he said.
The projects minister was speaking in Kerry where he met with business and community groups.
He was asked by reporters about the possibility of extending the low 9 percent value-added tax rate for the hospitality sector beyond the current end-February deadline. He said no decision had been made on whether to extend it and believed that “price gouging” – was not the norm in the sector.
On the Tax and Welfare Commission’s recommendation to impose a “tourist tax” on hotel rooms similar to those in many cities around the world, Mr Varadkar said that if it was to be brought in it was best left to the local authorities to decide. He noted that the money could be used locally to improve tourist attractions rather than going to central government coffers.
Varadkar stuck to comments earlier this week when he said some of the commission’s proposals “departed directly from Sinn Féin’s statement”.
Some committee members were surprised by the comments.
The Fine Gael leader said Friday: “What I said was just a factual statement that some of the recommendations in the commission’s report are Sinn Fein’s policies. This is a fact.
“I also said that some of the recommendations were very good and I would support them and I also said that the commission’s report is comprehensive, objective and very analytical.
“So I think if you take my comments on the tour, it was very fair.”
He said he did not agree with the committee’s recommendation to increase the inheritance tax nor its proposal to do away with the help-to-buy scheme. Regarding the latter metric, Varadkar said: “This is really important for first-time buyers.
“I want it to extend, not to end at the end of this year.”
He said, “I do not accept the view that the government or any future government should automatically accept recommendations.
“This was not the case for any committee.”