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Coal prices set to rise by 25%

14 May, 2008

Newry/Armagh MLA Mickey Brady Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Older People in the Six County Assembly, has said that he fears households headed by older people will suffer drastically, after it was revealed that coal prices are set to rise by 25%.

Mr Brady said:

"It has been clearly established that households headed by older people are much more likely to be living in fuel poverty. Older people are more likely to live in older houses which are less likely to be energy efficient. The Housing Executive House condition Survey 2004 demonstrates that a large proportion of older people are living in accommodation that is in an unfit state of repair or below the Decent Homes Standard.

"The rising cost of oil, gas and electricity leave many older people on low and fixed incomes at risk of fuel poverty.

"With the resources available here for heating, consider how difficult it is for the household in fuel poverty. It is an appalling statistic that approximately 200-300 older people die here yearly of cold - related illnesses.

"Fuel poverty has an impact on the health of both the old and young and this impacts directly on healthcare provisions. Only a concentrated and properly funded initiative to tackle fuel poverty will have any effect and this includes the provision of affordable social housing and realistic rates of benefits." ENDS

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