20 per cent Covid increase prompts call for rent freeze

Labour Party Councillor Conor Sheehan

WITH rents in Limerick now 20 per cent higher than they were at the start of the Covid pandemic, the time has come for the Government to introduce an immediate rent freeze.

The call came from Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan who said that the cost of rent in Limerick has spiralled out of control.

The City North representative said there are a range of measures within the control of government that must be taken immediately to help hard-pressed families in Limerick make ends meet.

“Headline growth rates and a record tax take means little to people who are on low, middle or fixed incomes as the euro in their pocket will not stretch as far as it once did as cost of the basics – food, heating, fuel and housing – spirals out of control.

“This is causing real hardship and putting more people at risk of poverty in Limerick,” Cllr Sheehan said.

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“Government must act on the things they can control. There is no sense of urgency from them on this real-world problem. Their laissez faire attitude will only serve to further reduce the living standards of people living in Limerick and condemn more people to poverty and homelessness.

“There must be immediate and targeted supports put in place for those who are bearing the brunt of ever-rising prices,” he declared.

“The Labour Party is calling on the Government to support their call for the introduction of additional targeted supports for those who are finding it hard to pay energy bills.

“The €100 off your electricity bill gimmick is tokenistic and poorly targeted. More people who really need support can be helped by widening access to the fuel allowance, and by committing to the introduction of a refundable Carbon Tax Credit for low-income working households to support the long-term phasing out of fossil fuels.”

Labour is also demanding increases in social welfare payments with a commitment to incrementally bring weekly rates up to the Minimum Essential Standard of Living.

“With annual average rent increases of 5.3 per cent over the last decade, it’s time for the government to grasp this nettle on the cost of keeping a roof over people’s heads by introducing an immediate rent freeze,” he concluded.