Tuesday, 27 September 2022
Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 1: Mineral Oil Tax
(1) THAT for the purposes of the tax charged by virtue of section 95 of the Finance Act 1999 (No. 2 of 1999), that Act be amended, with effect as on and from 28 September 2022, by the substitution of the following for Schedule 2 to that Act:
Rates of Mineral Oil Tax
|Light Oil: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|Light Oil: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|Heavy Oil: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|Heavy Oil: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|Heavy Oil: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|Heavy Oil: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|Heavy Oil: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|Heavy Oil: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|Liquefied Petroleum Gas: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|Liquefied Petroleum Gas: |
Rates per 1,000 litres
|With effect as on |
|Petrol||Aviation gasoline||Used as a propellant||Used for air navigation||Used for private pleasure navigation||Kerosene used other than as a propellant||Fuel oil||Other heavy oil||Used as a propellant||Other liquefied petroleum gas||Vehicle gas: |
Rate per megawatt hour at gross calorific value
|10 March 2022||€474.11||€474.11||€413.51||€413.51||€413.51||€84.84||€118.01||€120.55||€118.27||€54.68||€9.36|
|1 April 2022||€465.98||€465.98||€405.38||€405.38||€405.38||€84.84||€118.01||€120.55||€118.27||€54.68||€9.36|
|1 May 2022||€465.98||€465.98||€405.38||€405.38||€405.38||€103.83||€141.12||€111.14||€130.52||€66.93||€9.36|
|12 October 2022||€483.34||€483.34||€425.45||€425.45||€425.45||€103.83||€141.12||€111.14||€130.52||€66.93||€9.36|
|1 March 2023||€654.07||€654.07||€555.53||€555.53||€555.53||€103.83||€141.12||€158.50||€130.52||€66.93||€9.36|
|1 May 2023||€654.07||€654.07||€555.53||€555.53||€555.53||€122.83||€164.23||€178.83||€142.76||€79.17||€9.36|
|11 October 2023||€671.43||€671.43||€575.61||€575.61||€575.61||€122.83||€164.23||€178.83||€142.76||€79.17||€9.36|
|1 May 2024||€671.43||€671.43||€575.61||€575.61||€575.61||€141.82||€187.34||€199.17||€155.01||€91.42||€10.13|
|9 October 2024||€688.78||€688.78||€595.68||€595.68||€595.68||€141.82||€187.34||€199.17||€155.01||€91.42||€10.13|
|1 May 2025||€688.78||€688.78||€595.68||€595.68||€595.68||€160.81||€210.45||€219.50||€167.25||€103.66||€11.48|
|8 October 2025||€706.14||€706.14||€615.76||€615.76||€615.76||€160.81||€210.45||€219.50||€167.25||€103.66||€11.48|
|1 May 2026||€706.14||€706.14||€615.76||€615.76||€615.76||€179.81||€233.57||€239.83||€179.49||€115.90||€12.84|
|14 October 2026||€723.49||€723.49||€635.83||€635.83||€635.83||€179.81||€233.57||€239.83||€179.49||€115.90||€12.84|
|1 May 2027||€723.49||€723.49||€635.83||€635.83||€635.83||€198.80||€256.68||€260.16||€191.74||€128.15||€14.20|
|13 October 2027||€740.85||€740.85||€655.90||€655.90||€655.90||€198.80||€256.68||€260.16||€191.74||€128.15||€14.20|
|1 May 2028||€740.85||€740.85||€655.90||€655.90||€655.90||€217.80||€279.79||€280.49||€203.98||€140.39||€15.56|
|11 October 2028||€758.21||€758.21||€675.98||€675.98||€675.98||€217.80||€279.79||€280.49||€203.98||€140.39||€15.56|
|1 May 2029||€758.21||€758.21||€675.98||€675.98||€675.98||€236.79||€302.90||€300.83||€216.23||€152.64||€16.91|
|10 October 2029||€773.25||€773.25||€693.38||€693.38||€693.38||€236.79||€302.90||€300.83||€216.23||€152.64||€16.91|
|1 May 2030||€773.25||€773.25||€693.38||€693.38||€693.38||€253.25||€322.93||€318.45||€226.84||€163.25||€18.09|
(2) IT is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).
Financial Resolution No. 1 provides for an extension of the temporarily reduced rates of non-carbon mineral oil tax on petrol, diesel and marked gas oil, MGO, which Government provided for earlier this year. Temporary reductions in mineral oil tax on petrol diesel and MGO, implemented earlier this year, provided for VAT-inclusive per litre reductions of 21 cent, 16 cent and 5 cent on petrol, diesel and MGO respectively. These reductions were due to end on 12 October 2022. This financial resolution will extend the reduced rates for a further 20 weeks until 28 February 2023. The estimated cost of this extension is €281 million. I am sure the House will recognise that these are important measures in the context of the current energy crisis. These measures were first implemented in March and April of this year in light of the acute impact rising prices were having on citizens and business. Unfortunately, we remain in an inflationary period and it is necessary to extend these provisions until the end of February.
Financial Resolution No. 2 provides for the extension of the temporary reduction in VAT on gas and electricity from 13.5% to 9%. At present, gas and electricity have a 9% VAT rate applied on a temporary basis from 1 May to 31 October this year. This rate is due to revert to 13.5% on 1 November. This temporary reduction was one of the Government's responses to the current energy crisis and its impact on the cost of living. Given the scale and duration of the energy crisis, the Government has taken the decision to extend this temporary reduction in the VAT rate on gas and electricity. The VAT rate of 9% will now be extended from 1 November this year to 28 February 2023, covering the cold winter season. The background to this measure is that up to April of this year, Ireland has maintained a historical derogation in respect of the VAT rate on gas and electricity of 13.5%. This derogation was necessary because otherwise the standard rate of VAT of 23% would have applied. However, following lengthy negotiations, amendments to the VAT directive were agreed earlier this year with changes taking effect on 5 April 2022. Under this new agreement, annexe III of the VAT directive has been expanded to include gas and electricity. This means Ireland can apply a reduced rate of 9% to these products in line with other goods and services to which a reduced rate applies. The Government made its initial decision to avail of this flexibility from 1 May and is extending it to 28 February next year. In terms of Revenue impacts, the four-month extension of the reduced 9% VAT rate is estimated to cost €45 million.
I move amendment No. 1:
1. In Schedule 2, inserted by paragraph (1), by the substitution of the following for the row dated 12 October 2022:
€359.00 €483.34 €425.45 €425.45 €425.45 €103.83 €141.12 €111.14 €130.52 €66.93 €9.36
On Financial Resolution No. 1, in respect of the fuel excise reduction extension, I have to say that the commentary during today's budget that probably caused workers to shake their heads today more than any other was that of the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, announcing that the carbon price hike of next month was to proceed as planned. He placed a caveat on that by indicating that what Peter gives Paul will take away and that the other element of excise duty will reduce by a proportionate amount. I do not know if the Minister or the Government realise it but fuel prices are still a significant factor in the lives of those families that are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Many people still do not have any alternative option but to use their cars to drive to work, drop their children to activities or engage in their daily business. Public transport options are not there, they do not have any prospect of being able to afford an electric vehicle and the Government has not provided the level of support that is warranted to those workers and families at any point. The measures the Government has introduced have been far too slowly introduced and they have been countered by the Government proceeding, against all logic, with carbon tax hikes. The Sinn Féin amendments will provide an opportunity for members of the Government, particularly for the backbench Deputies who have indicated that they recognise that the cost of petrol and diesel is still too high. They can support our amendments which would see a further increase of in and around 2 cent per litre on both petrol and diesel in respect of amendments Nos. 1 and 2.
Amendment No. 3 represents another opportunity for Members of Government to recognise that a huge proportion of our population, particularly those who live outside of our main urban centres, are reliant on home heating oil in order to heat their homes. Throughout this cost-of-living emergency, the Government has provided precisely zero supports to families who are in that position. Once again Sinn Féin will move an amendment to remove excise duty in its entirety from home heating oil during this crisis period. It would save the average family about €120 per tank, a support they desperately need. My appeal to Members of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party is to finally realise the pressures people are under with fuel and energy costs. Support our amendments to further the reduce the cost of petrol and diesel and to finally bring in a measure on home heating oil.
I rise to support amendments Nos. 1 and 2 from Sinn Féin. We are talking about robbing Peter to pay Paul and then the Minister brought the National Oil Reserves Agency, NORA, into it. I know Peter and Paul were saints but I do not know anything about NORA. This is not very saintly or funny to the people at home who want to get some relief. The Government has a budget of €11 billion and it is talking about giving money here and there to give relief to hard-pressed householders. In the same breath, it is acquiescing and passing this carbon tax, which the Minister has got all his colleagues in government to sign up for.
I want to support the call on Government backbenchers and to give them a chance. They have been on the radio extolling the virtues of this great giveaway Government and inside in the middle of the budget there is this punitive charge and the Minister is telling us it will be replaced by getting rid of the NORA levy to allow Peter to rob Paul or Paul to rob Peter. The people are sick and tired of that because they are being robbed and forced to travel to work for industry and all the different ways of life to try to eke out a living and to bring their kids to school. The Government has made all these lovely cuts to fares for public transport, but what if you do not have public transport? The vast majority of the people we are talking about do not have it. The Government is going ahead with the carbon tax at this point, which is a sheer act of lunacy as far as I am concerned. It is a trick of the loop and a three-card trick; taking with one hand and giving back with the other. I totally oppose it and will be voting against it.
I, too, want to support the amendment. It is so ridiculous to be seeking to impose the carbon tax with the cost of fuel as it is. The cost of fuel being as it is today is mainly due to the Government taking the most of it in tax already. A barrel of crude oil is cheaper today than it was four years ago.
I think of the prices poor people are paying at the pump. They are not paying it for fun. They are paying it to keep their cars going so they can go to work, bring their children to school and do the shopping. Not all of them are living in urban areas. In fact, apart from the towns and villages in Kerry, most of Kerry is very rural and far away from shops, schools and from anything. If you do not have a car, you are stranded and that is the gospel truth. You cannot get public transport and you cannot even get taxis at night nowadays, never mind during the day. Taxi people have to work in other areas because they are not making a sufficient income from their taxis. Most of them are only helping themselves to keep going with their taxi, which is barely paying the bills, and so that they can have a car. That is what many of them tell me. They are saying the taxi would not be justified at all, but that they have insurance, tax and the fact they have the car go to other work and for other things. They cannot stay out late at night to work because they are not generating enough income. There are not enough taxis to go around and there are no DARTs and there is no Luas. Indeed, there is no public transport, except going from one town to another. There is no public transport like that to help people to go to the rural areas, through the third class roads or the cul-de-sac roads.
There is the issue of the hauliers who are transporting the goods. Rural Ireland depends so much on them. To think that any Government or any Minister would seriously think of adding to the cost of fuel today, given what it costs already. Our Rural Independent Group was the only group in this House that voted solidly against the introduction of carbon tax. The carbon tax was to coax people away from using fossil fuels, such as diesel, petrol, etc. God almighty, can the Minister not see that people cannot manage without them? Take the cost of fuel; it has been and is still is almost €2 per litre. That is more than €9 per gallon. Take cars in rural areas where they are only in third gear; one cannot get an economical return for those cars. That is what they have and that is what they need.
It is not fair of the Government to insist on adding to their woes by insisting on carrying on with the carbon tax and adding it to the cost of the fuel. To clarify, we asked the Government last year to forgo the National Oil Reserves Agency, NORA, levy. All it is doing now is substituting it. It is doing that now, but it is still insisting on the carbon tax, which is totally unfair. I would expect that when Ministers get into power that they would be fair to the people and to the country they are representing. However, they have been totally unfair with what they are doing with the carbon tax, because fuel is excessively dear as it is. As I said, a barrel of crude oil is cheaper now than it was four years ago. That is a fact, and the Minster can look at the records.
I will support the amendment. I have been clear in discussions previously about the carbon tax. The way the budget was rolled out today was unfair. It was like a con job. There was VAT, the excise and the extensions on the taxation side. The Minister said there was excise reduction of 21 cent per litre for petrol and 16 cent per litre for diesel. People were texting me and to say, “Thanks be to God”, that there was some relief at the pump because people are feeling the pinch badly. This was one way that the Government could give some relief to everybody. Really, though, the devil is in the detail. They got nothing. The Government gave nothing back to the ordinary mother and father trying to take the child to school in the morning.
I questioned the Minister last week about public transport and he said that if he had the money, he would deliver. Well, he is getting the money from the carbon tax, but he has not delivered in rural Ireland. He is delivering it in the capital and in the surrounds of the capital through pet projects. Yet, rural Ireland is suffering and he has not delivered in my constituency. He said he might do two services before the end of the year. I hope he does, but that is not enough. It is nowhere near enough. We are totally and utterly dependent on the use of vehicles. We would love to have a dream where we could have a kite or something that on which we could all jump on and travel away in the air, but that is not possible. Many Deputies here do not have a clue. They are the Deputies who voted for the carbon tax. They are clueless as to how people survive in rural Ireland.
We even asked the Minister to postpone the carbon tax to give a chance to people during a difficult time, but he still refused to do so. Do not punish the person who has no choice in the matter and who has no public transport.
There is the issue of the farmer who has to use his machines. He cannot just pull up and hope that wind energy will come and drive the tractor. There is also the lorry man who is hauling the food to the shops. The price of food is going up and up and is out of control. The Government cannot control it because fuel is gone out of the price range of the ordinary people. At the very least, the carbon tax should have been postponed to give people a chance. The astonishing thing down my way is that people are paying anything up from €1.85, €1.90, €1.96, €1.97, or €1.98 for 1 l of diesel. That is what we are paying. Today, they felt there would have been some relief, but it was not given. However, it was announced as though something was going to come. There was not one brown cent to the people who are paying for home heating oil, or for the ordinary householders who have little or no other option at this time. Let the options come and the people will move in the right direction, but the options are not there.
The fishermen thought they would be getting some kind of exemption today in relation to fuel, but that did not happen. The Government failed to deliver for the fishermen and for the farmer in relation to fuel and the carbon tax as well as for the people of rural Ireland. I have often said it here that carbon tax is just a tax for pet projects around the capital. The Minister has yet to prove me wrong. Public transport is the way to prove Deputy Michael Collins of Cork South-West wrong. What has the Minister delivered as Minister for Transport in Cork South-West? Zero. There has been zero delivered in public transport in two and a half years. Let those in here who support the carbon tax realise that after two and a half years we have a zero return in Cork South-West. It is a shameful act, and it should not be allowed to continue. People’s heads should roll, and I will be supporting this amendment.
First, I just want to correct the record. I am sure that it was not intentional by Deputy Danny Healy-Rae, but he got it wrong if he was suggesting that People Before Profit ever supported in any shape or form or voted for the carbon tax, because we most certainly did not. This year, as was the case in every year that it has appeared, we voted against it. We put it in our pre-budget submission-----
No, Deputy, never. Not only that, to be honest we were campaigning against it before the Rural Independent Group was. I had to point it out to the Deputy’s brother at the budgetary scrutiny committee when they were going to remove a tax relief on fuel that would have seriously affected rural Ireland. He had not noticed it until I pointed it out to him. Luckily enough, that particular relief was not amended because we pointed it out to him. I go to the trouble of reading budget documents.
We oppose the carbon tax for precisely the reasons Deputies Michael Collins and Danny Healy-Rae have pointed out, as well as for other reasons. I do not buy into the urban-rural divide. There is no doubt carbon tax is unfairly hammering rural Ireland for all the reasons that have been outlined, because they do not have alternatives in terms of public transport. However, in urban Ireland, this is also a problem.
I will reference one recent egregious example, affecting one of the most vulnerable cohorts in our society. For the want of €200,000, a volunteer-run not-for-profit disability door-to-door transport service for people in wheelchairs has closed down in my area in the last few weeks. These are wheelchair users who cannot use conventional public transport. The taxis and buses are not adapted for their types of wheelchairs. They had a door-to-door service called ACTS. I raised the issue in here for months. I pleaded with the Ministers of State, Deputies Rabbitte and Butler, and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, and I asked that €200,000 be found to maintain this wonderful service that brought hundreds of the most vulnerable people to doctors' appointments, gave them a social life and so on. It is outrageous, to be honest. How are they supposed to get to their doctors' appointments in the absence of that service which has now closed down? They will not have any choice but to get into cars, will they? They will have to get into somebody's car and be driven there, which will incur costs in terms of petrol, diesel or whatever. They do not want to do that. They would far rather use the ACTS buses, but those buses are gone. I do not know if the Government was just too lazy to act on the issue that was raised. I cannot believe that for the want of €200,000 the Government could not sustain the service. It is shameful.
I read the budget documents; I do not just read the speeches. As if the regressive nature of the carbon tax was not bad enough, I then look at the Minister's budget for this year, and find that it has been cut by 17% in the area of climate action. If we are trying to create alternatives to replace fossil fuels, surely the Minister's budget should have gone up, not down. In particular, the main line item, where it has been reduced by 35%, is in the area of energy transformation. It is down 35% from last year, from €791 million to €513 million. How the hell did that happen?
I want the Minister to answer. I am sorry, but that is not a good enough explanation. It really is not. I ask the Minister to think about the words "energy transformation" in the current context. We are facing the most unprecedented crisis. We have heard the Minister, other Government Ministers and European Ministers, one after the other, getting up and saying that this is the moment that we have to make the transformation, that we cannot be dependent on Putin and we cannot be dependent on fossil fuels. They have said that we need a massive transformation and this is the moment to make the transformation. Yet, the Government has cut the allocation in the budget for precisely that purpose.
It states that the allocation for energy transformation has been reduced by 35%. It states that for the Minister's overall Department, which is the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, the allocation has been reduced by 17%. Is that also incorrect?
I must interrupt the Deputy for a moment to make a clarification. I am not stopping him from speaking. Just in case there is any misunderstanding, resolutions Nos. 1 and 2 are being discussed together. There will not be an opportunity later to discuss-----
That is fine. I have made the point that I am against these regressive taxes because they are punishing people who do not have alternatives and choices. The Government should be providing them with the alternatives and choices to reduce fossil fuel use rather than punishing them, which is what is actually happening. For goodness sake, even if the Government cannot agree with us on that, to me it just beggars belief. It is the same, by the way, with the transport budget. There is virtually no increase in the expenditure on public transport. There is a reduction in the allocation to the Minister's own Department. Who is funding the just transition for the people affected by climate action? There is clearly not funding for it in this budget.
I would not have an issue with carbon tax if there was an alternative. I really would not. There could be an alternative carbon tax if we had the infrastructure. However, at the present, we do not have the infrastructure. Carbon tax is an unjust tax at a time when we do not have alternatives. It is an unjust tax on people who have no choice but to drive a diesel or petrol car. It is an unjust tax for people who have to pay for private buses because there is no alternative for Government to providing bus services. It is an unjust tax for people who do not qualify to get on the bus and have to be driven to work because the bus facilities are not there at present, even though the Government has provided free bus transport to schools. In our area, free bus transport has been provided but the CIÉ or Bus Éireann rules have changed. They say that because of the width of the roads and the fact that they are not allowed to cut the hedges, they have to put on a smaller bus for the safety of the people going to school. However, because a smaller bus is being put on, we are short ten or 15 seats. The roads are wide enough for a milk lorry to travel on them, but they cannot take a bigger bus. That means that there are 12 to 14 families in each of the different areas that have to drive their children to school, even though the Government has said it is providing free transport. That is an unfair tax.
We take our children to sports events all around the county and the country. Some of them go on to represent the county in different sports. For those taking children to such events, the carbon tax is an unjust tax. If we look at any of the services that are within the Government's remit currently, such as the ambulance service, fire service and the Garda, none of them have electric vehicles, because they would not be able to do their jobs. In the middle of a chase, gardaí would have to stop for a few minutes to plug in the car and recharge it. Those services are within the Government's remit, so it can justify the tax. The people without alternatives are going to pay for it. We all have an agenda to save the planet when there are alternatives. There are no alternatives for me. There are no alternatives for people in the outer part of Dublin. They are telling me that there are no alternatives for them either. Members of the Garda have told me that they cannot use alternatives to come to work because there is no transport service available at the time of their shift work. The front-line workers tell me the same. There is no alternative for them. It is an unjust tax on the people who we depended on during Covid.
The Government's job is to protect the people of Ireland in the present. We will deal with the future. We have no future if we have no infrastructure. Therefore, it is an unjust tax for everyone in this country, because there are no alternatives. In an ideal world there would be alternatives, but at the present time there are none. All the Government is doing, with this unfair tax, is bringing misery to people who have no alternatives, which is more than 70% of the country. Looking at the type of vehicles available today, people cannot afford to change to electric vehicles, EVs. Even with EVs, the Government is changing the benefit-in-kind, BIK.
The Minister should see common sense and protect the people who put him into the position he is in. He should then work for the future. That is called common sense. It cannot be found in a book. One must see it through our eyes. I have been a Deputy for two and a half years, during which time the Minister has been invited to visit my area and see life through my eyes. I told him I would put him up with the best of hospitality. I want him to live the type of life he thinks he would like to live, that is, my life, and see how long he lasts. It would not work. I ask him to reconsider this unjust tax on everybody in this country.
Amendment No. 1 to Financial Resolution No. 2 reads: "In paragraph (1), to delete “be extended until 28 February 2023” and substitute “be extended until 31 December 2023”." The amendment represents a request to extend the VAT cut that was introduced last spring on electricity and gas bills. The Minister has sought to extend it to the end of February but the Labour Party proposes an extension to the end of 2023. We do so for a number of reasons. It has been an important part of the measures introduced to support people at this time when it is unprecedentedly difficult for them to meet the demands placed on them by their energy bills, specifically gas and electricity bills. It is not a panacea. It is a part of a package of measures. We supported the reduction in the VAT rate from 13.5% to 9% last spring and are happy to do so again in order to extend the cut to the end of February 2023, but we want it extended to the end of next year. We want that for several reasons.
The Minister will know that it is causing consternation, to put it mildly, to which standing charges are giving rise. The regulator seems powerless to introduce any change and to reduce those charges. As I said in my response to the budget, we have a regulator who appears to be an enabler of the energy companies that are making enormous profits at the moment at the expense of hard-pressed householders. As a contribution to reducing the hardship those hard-pressed householders are experiencing, we believe that, at a cost of between €130 million and €175 million, depending on where gas prices are next year, we could extend the VAT cut to the end of the year. It is especially important to do so given that standing charges, which are now a real bugbear for people, are not being reduced. Regardless of the efforts householders put into being responsible in their energy use and cutting their costs, standing charges are often going up and, as I say, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, CRU, appears powerless. The Minister is not powerless. He can make a decision this evening to extend the VAT cut to give some more relief to families next year. In total, the extension of the cut to the end of next year could involve a saving of €165 per household. That is not insignificant. I gather from a reply to a parliamentary question that it would come at a cost of between €130 million and €175 million. In the scheme of things, that is not an enormous amount of money, given that we have been talking about a once-off package of measures of €4.1 billion. Of course, that €4.1 billion will melt like snow on a ditch come 31 December and it will be back to business as usual next year. We need to include this measure now or we will be looking at it again in the context of what I believe will be the requirement for a mini-budget next spring so meagre are the measures introduced in budget 2023 to protect hard-pressed households across the country. I appeal to the Minister to reflect on the issue and to support this amendment to extend the proposed VAT cut not to the end of February but to the end of 2023.
The Deputy can speak to the resolutions and the amendment. For the benefit of everybody, this debate is going to come to a conclusion in five minutes. Some Deputies are indicating a wish to speak. It is normal to give the Minister a chance to come back in. I simply say that.
I want to give the Minister time to respond. He has talked about Ireland's energy transformation. He and I are both admirers of the Shannon hydroelectric scheme and the bravery displayed by the new State at that time to meet Ireland's energy needs. We were completely reliant on imported energy at the time. We are not completely reliant on it now but we are almost completely reliant. The Irish Free State at the time was almost completely reliant on imported energy. The Shannon hydroelectric project was achieved by spending 20% of Ireland's GDP and using international technology that was available at the time through Siemens.
The Minister is steadfast that offshore energy remains our hope and great panacea. Towards the end of last year, one of the big players in the market left Ireland. Industry sources say that company was distinctly unimpressed by our regulatory and planning regimes. Only last week, Shell left. Ardnacrusha could not have been built without Siemens. I do not think that anybody thinks that offshore energy off the west coast and floating turbines can be used without some of the major players in the industry, but they are leaving the market.
This State spent 20% of its GDP to bring about a situation where we were energy self-sufficient. Only if we are self-sufficient can we actually deal with the cost of energy because we have very little influence over the cost of what we import and must pay the going rate. Some €4.3 million was announced to establish the maritime area regulatory authority, MARA. That is in the context of a GDP of €460 billion. Of that, €4.3 million is all I can see allocated to tackle long-term energy costs. There is a lot in the budget about helping businesses and households to meet the costs of here and now. We are all told that money may not be available next year. We do not know if it will be available. We do know that energy costs have gone up and are likely to stay up for some time. Am I correct in saying that €4.3 million is all that is being spent in this budget to meet long-term strategic goals?
The Minister should consider the amendment. The Social Democrats support it. The bigger energy bills become, the bigger the tax take and the bigger the VAT take. One cannot project the costs involved because we do not know the extent of the coming increases but we know they will be substantial.
I addressed standing charges with the Minister at Leaders' Questions last week. It is merely a question of extending the necessary powers to the regulator. It must be done. It is within our ability to do so and there is no excuse for not doing so.
I will make a final point in respect of future-proofing. If we want to prevent a rainy day, we have to engage in future-proofing. Having energy security is a good investment in that regard and solar energy is a part of that. There is a poverty of ambition in that regard. Solar energy could have an immediate effect. We must also have ambition in respect of offshore wind. We will have real prospects in that area into the future but they will never be realised unless we invest at this point and start delivering at scale. Those are the key issues I wish to highlight.
This Government has to manage the public finances. In its three years in government, there has been a pandemic, from which we have now emerged. We have the ability to provide protection to our people because of good management of the public finances. That needs to continue.
We need to get through this winter period and in March, we will review and examine the whole range of different supports we may need, what is happening with the war and the price of energy.
The amendments would make decisions that would go below the rate which the energy taxation directive allows. I also believe in the issue of carbon tax, which is progressive, because the money from that goes to social protection, to protect the most vulnerable-----
In terms of the proposed extension to the VAT rate until the end of next year, it is better and more prudent for us to take the approach we are taking, which is managing this crisis, getting through the winter, helping our people and then reviewing where we are.
We are out of time. As the time allowed for the debate has expired, I must now put the following question in accordance with the order of the Dáil of this day: "That amendments Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, set down to the motion for Financial Resolution No. 1 are hereby negatived and the motion for Financial Resolution No. 1 is hereby agreed to." Is that agreed?
By way of clarification, there were three amendments to Financial Resolution No. 1. These were discussed in conjunction with the resolution. We have run out of time and a guillotine is now being imposed.
Cathal Berry, Colm Brophy, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Colm Burke, Peter Burke, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Jack Chambers, Niall Collins, Patrick Costello, Simon Coveney, Barry Cowen, Michael Creed, Cathal Crowe, Cormac Devlin, Alan Dillon, Stephen Donnelly, Francis Noel Duffy, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Frank Feighan, Peter Fitzpatrick, Joe Flaherty, Charles Flanagan, Seán Fleming, Norma Foley, Noel Grealish, Brendan Griffin, Simon Harris, Seán Haughey, Martin Heydon, Emer Higgins, Neasa Hourigan, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, John Lahart, James Lawless, Brian Leddin, Michael Lowry, Marc MacSharry, Josepha Madigan, Catherine Martin, Steven Matthews, Paul McAuliffe, Charlie McConalogue, Helen McEntee, John McGuinness, Joe McHugh, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Jennifer Murnane O'Connor, Hildegarde Naughton, Malcolm Noonan, Darragh O'Brien, Joe O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, James O'Connor, Willie O'Dea, Kieran O'Donnell, Patrick O'Donovan, Fergus O'Dowd, Roderic O'Gorman, Christopher O'Sullivan, Pádraig O'Sullivan, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Éamon Ó Cuív, John Paul Phelan, Anne Rabbitte, Neale Richmond, Michael Ring, Eamon Ryan, Matt Shanahan, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth, Ossian Smyth, David Stanton, Robert Troy, Leo Varadkar.
Chris Andrews, Ivana Bacik, Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Martin Browne, Pat Buckley, Holly Cairns, Seán Canney, Matt Carthy, Sorca Clarke, Joan Collins, Michael Collins, Rose Conway-Walsh, Réada Cronin, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Pa Daly, Paul Donnelly, Dessie Ellis, Michael Fitzmaurice, Kathleen Funchion, Gary Gannon, Thomas Gould, Johnny Guirke, Marian Harkin, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, Brendan Howlin, Alan Kelly, Gino Kenny, Martin Kenny, Claire Kerrane, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Mary Lou McDonald, Mattie McGrath, Michael McNamara, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Catherine Murphy, Paul Murphy, Verona Murphy, Johnny Mythen, Gerald Nash, Denis Naughten, Carol Nolan, Cian O'Callaghan, Richard O'Donoghue, Louise O'Reilly, Darren O'Rourke, Eoin Ó Broin, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Ruairi Ó Murchú, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Thomas Pringle, Maurice Quinlivan, Patricia Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Duncan Smith, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Pauline Tully, Mark Ward, Jennifer Whitmore, Violet Wynne.