A carbon tax on home heating oil and other fuels came into effect today.

The tax at a rate of €15 per tonne was introduced on petrol and diesel last December, and will now be applied to kerosene, marked gas oil, Liquid Petroleum Gas, fuel oil and natural gas.

Business and farming representatives have criticised the Government decision.

ISME, the group which represents small and medium business, warned yesterday that the tax would cost jobs.

IFA President John Bryan said the Government should delay bringing it in until it is introduced across Europe.

Environment Minister John Gormley has said the money raised from the tax will be channelled into boosting the economy and employment.

Meanwhile, Active Retirement Ireland called for clarification from the Minister for Social Protection, Éamon Ó Cuiv, on the measures planned to off-set the impact of the tax on pensioners.

Minister Ó Cuiv has said an inter-departmental working group will make recommendations on this.