Ferris Calls for Extension of Energy Efficiency Grants
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment, Martin Ferris TD, has called on the Government to extend all grants to promote energy efficiency to recipients of Fuel Allowance. The Kerry North TD was speaking in the Dáil where he sought a debate on the issue. He also called for this provision to be included in next week's Budget.
Deputy Ferris said:
"There is a very strong case to be made for the inclusion of all people in receipt of the Fuel Allowance in grant schemes designed to increase energy efficiency and fuel conservation within the home. This should be applied for example to the Greener Homes Scheme and I would also like to see an extension of the Warmer Homes Scheme to include more low income households.
"The necessity for this was once again highlighted in a recent St. Vincent de Paul survey that found that 79% of lone parents, 78% of elderly and 81% of local authority tenants struggled to pay for energy and heating costs in their homes. This is a major contributory factor in overall poverty levels. Many low income households are stuck in a vicious circle initiated by high fuel bills that are exacerbated by poorly insulated accommodation and people spending most of their time in their homes because of their situation.
"An obvious way to address this is by including all those in receipt of Fuel Allowance in schemes designed to promote greater energy efficiency. While some, such as the Warmer Homes Scheme, would not require a huge additional outlay, others will. However such an initial investment would turn out to be cost efficient as better insulated homes will reduce energy loss leading to lower fuel bills, a reduction in fuel poverty and less of a burden on the health services due to related illnesses. I would therefore urge that the Government take these steps in the forthcoming Budget." CRÍOCH