The Budget is an opportunity to stop people choosing between heating and eating this winter

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Friends of the Earth and Social Justice Ireland call for action on energy bills and cold homes in Budget 2024

As temperatures drop and households start to think about home heating, Friends of the Earth & Social Justice Ireland are calling on the Government ahead of Budget 2024 to take action so households are not left to choose between heating and eating again this winter.


In a pre-budget statement, 32 leading social, environmental, and voluntary organisations, have called for targeted government intervention to address energy poverty and continued reliance on polluting fossil fuels.


The group is calling for a budget that puts people and climate first. Budget 2024 must:

  • Increase Fuel Allowance rates and expand its eligibility to households on the Working Family Payment. This will also expand eligibility for the Government’s fully funded retrofit scheme.

  • Commit additional funding to social housing retrofitting to ensure all state-owned housing is retrofitted and has renewable heating systems by 2030.  This tackles energy poverty, cuts pollution and would be a positive step towards “warm homes for all”. Polling undertaken by Ireland Thinks on behalf of Friends of the Earth show a strong majority (76%) support the upgrading of all state-owned housing by 2030.

  • Establish an energy advice service in each local authority to provide advice on energy bills, installing “quick win” insulation measures, and accessing retrofitting grants & renewable energy.

  • Expand the fully funded government retrofitting schemes to include low-income renters on Housing Assistance Payment.


Clare O’Connor, Energy Policy Officer at Friends of the Earth says:

“With energy costs still extortionately high and many facing another winter rationing heat, the Government must prioritise wins both for climate action and for our pockets. Expanding access to home retrofitting will bring down our energy bills and help put a stop to fossil fuel pollution. This has to happen to stay within our legally-binding carbon budgets.

Untargeted measures like last year’s universal energy credit serve only to put a plaster on the problem and ultimately fail to address the underlying issues of fossil fuel lock-in, low incomes, and unaffordable bills. 

Increasing and expanding eligibility for the Fuel Allowance, which gives more households access to government-funded retrofitting schemes, and setting a new target to retrofit all social housing by 2030 are among the measures we need to see to have a real and tangible impact.

Budget 2024 represents a crucial opportunity for this government to tackle cold homes, exorbitant energy costs, and fossil fuel dependence for good.” 


Michelle Murphy, Research and Policy Analyst at Social Justice Ireland, says:

“Social Justice Ireland is calling on the Government to increase Fuel Allowance rates and expand eligibility to families on the Working Family Payment. This targeted measure would directly assist people in low paid employment who are most impacted by rising energy costs.

If the Government does not address income adequacy, then progress in reducing the number of people in poverty, and the number of people in energy poverty will not be achieved. Measures introduced to mitigate the impact of rising energy costs have so far failed to address the core issue of income adequacy, as many have been one off in nature, and others are insufficient to address the challenges that households on low incomes currently face.”