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Energy price increases must focus Executive minds

28 May, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA Jennifer McCann, who is deputy Chairperson of the Assembly Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee commenting on NIE confirmation that it will increase its prices by 14% has said that the most vulnerable people in our society will be worst affected.

Ms McCann said:

"These energy price increases - in coal, oil and now electricity - will be felt worst by people on low incomes and on fixed incomes, particularly people on pensions and benefits.

"At the same time there are rising food and petrol costs.

"These increases in the cost of living must focus the minds of the Executive. We need action to tackle poverty. We need to see real action to tackle fuel poverty because many people are facing a choice between eating and heating.

"In recent weeks Sinn Fein received all party support in our demand for a sustainable energy policy that can deliver sustainable prices. We need to see progress on this.

"Energy companies also need to ensure that they protect the most vulnerable people in society from any threat to having their electricity supply cut off. We also have concerns that people who do not have access to banking facilities are being penalised, particularly as they are often people on low income and benefits." ENDS

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