The Tánaiste said the government was working on an inflation crisis loan scheme for businesses, similar to the schemes that were in place for Brexit and the pandemic.
Leo Varadkar said the budget will not overcome the cost of living crisis, but it will take another six months or a year to “tame inflation”.
He told the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions that this requires a “comprehensive” response involving international, European and national policies.
He was responding to Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, who said thousands of families were being ‘abandoned’ by the Government as the Dáil kicks off the summer holidays while the latest CSO Consumer Price Index report showed that inflation had reached a 38-year high.
“Most people are feeling the pressure, but low and middle income families are feeling the pinch. What they need is a government that understands their struggle and a government that is responsive to their needs,” he said. said Mr. Doherty.
“Today this Dáil will be up for vacation and not returning until September. But workers and families will continue to struggle, week after week, through the summer months with the cost of living crisis.”
He said the government had refused “point blank” to act on Sinn Féin’s calls for an emergency budget.
Mr Varadkar replied that there is an “unprecedented” set of scenarios, including the pandemic and war in Ukraine, causing inflation to rise at a faster rate than in the past 40 years.
“There is no budget, be it early, late or emergency, that will get us through the inflation crisis,” he said.
“We have to get inflation under control. This requires a global approach. International action, action at European level and also national action,” the Tánaiste said.
“Because what we need to do over the next six months to a year is to bring inflation down and get it under control, not fan the fires of inflation. That won’t help anyone in the long run and we need to avoid that.”
Possible construction defects noted at the Dáil
Union leader Ivana Bacik told the Dáil that “up to 80% of apartments built between 1991 and 2013” could be affected by construction faults.
She said it is expected that a report on faulty homes, due to be concluded next week, will show that “…up to 100,000 apartments have been affected by fire safety and other faults – with up to 44,000 being corrected at the moment”.
Ms Bacik described the scale of the problem as “huge”, affecting all counties in Ireland but was particularly “acute” in capital constituencies such as Dun Laoghaire, Dublin Fingal and Dublin Bay South.
The Tánaiste said that although he has not seen the report, he believes there “will have to be government assistance” for people who, through no fault of their own, have purchased apartments in buildings with defaults.
He said it was an important issue he knew “very well” in his own constituency and one that the government should address – as it has for homeowners affected by pyrite and mica.
Ms Bacik said there were significant health and safety concerns for people who continue to live in faulty buildings, and she called for “refundable tax credits” to be introduced in the 2023 budget to those who paid for sanitation work.
Mr Varadkar said he recognized that many people in such circumstances lived in “terrible limbo” because in any building there were people who would pay for sanitation; some who could not pay; and people wouldn’t pay.
Additional reporting Paul Cunningham