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Social Welfare Fuel Allowances...To Heat the Sky?


  • Susan Scott

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))


Over a quarter of households receive fuel allowances, amounting to some £56 million, annually. The state distributes these allowances because fuel is regarded as a ?merit? good. We must question whether the allowances as they stand are the most efficient way alleviating fuel difficulties among low-income families. It is probably fair to say that they do not succeed sufficiently in alleviating discomfort and the problems mentioned above. It is warmth that families require, rather than fuel per se. By taking a wider perspective, which includes the option of installing energy conservation measures in the home, it is asked whether it would be possible for the State to provide more warmth for the current expenditure. The answer in technical terms is yes, but no in practical terms. However on the way, we describe a sensible scheme and point out some other measures for helping low-income households to enjoy more warmth.

Suggested Citation

  • Susan Scott, 1996. "Social Welfare Fuel Allowances...To Heat the Sky?," Papers WP074, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp074

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baker, Terence J. & FitzGerald, John & Honohan, Patrick, 1996. "Economic Implications for Ireland of EMU," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS28.
    2. FitzGerald, John & McCoy, Daniel, 1993. "Issues in Irish Energy Policy," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS20.
    3. Scott, Susan & McCoy, Daniel, 1993. "Energy Conservation in the Home - Are We Contrary?," Book Chapters,in: FitzGerald, John (ed.), Issues in Irish Energy Policy Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    4. FitzGerald, John & McCoy, Daniel, 1992. "The Economic Effects of Carbon Taxes," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS14.
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    Cited by:

    1. Scott, Susan & Lyons, Sean & Keane, Claire & McCarthy, Donal & Tol, Richard S. J., 2008. "Fuel Poverty in Ireland: Extent, Affected Groups and Policy Issues," Papers WP262, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. Scott, Susan & Eakins, John, 2001. "Household Income Effects and Implementation Options," Book Chapters,in: Green and Bear it? Implementing Market-based Policies for Ireland's Environment - Proceedings of a Conference held on 10 May Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    3. Cathal O'Donoghue, 1997. "Carbon Dioxide, Energy Taxation and Industry: An Input-Output Analysis," Papers WP082, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    4. Callan, Tim & Lyons, Sean & Scott, Susan & Tol, Richard S.J. & Verde, Stefano, 2009. "The distributional implications of a carbon tax in Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 407-412, February.
    5. Ürge-Vorsatz, Diana & Tirado Herrero, Sergio, 2012. "Building synergies between climate change mitigation and energy poverty alleviation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 83-90.
    6. Scott, S., 1997. "Household energy efficiency in Ireland: A replication study of ownership of energy saving items," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 187-208, May.
    7. Tirado Herrero, Sergio & Ürge-Vorsatz, Diana, 2012. "Trapped in the heat: A post-communist type of fuel poverty," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 60-68.

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