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Sinn Féin call for ‘social tariff’ on energy prices

10 June, 2008

West Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Jennifer McCann has called on the Executive to work together with energy companies (including NIE and Phoenix Gas) to introduce a social tariff scheme to help alleviate fuel poverty.

Ms McCann said:
"The recent rise in the costs of fuel, food and other basic commodities are resulting in families facing an economic crisis, and this is set to get worse coming into the autumn and winter when more energy is used in homes.

"One of the key priorities of the Executive is to tackle poverty and disadvantage and more and more people are experiencing financial difficulties as a result in rising prices and benefits and wages remaining the same.

"It is important the Executive respond to this crisis by looking at new and innovative ways to tackle poverty.

"Government Departments need to be innovative with their budget allocations and the Executive as a whole should be looking to work along with energy companies to bring forward a policy to introduce social tariff schemes which will ensure vulnerable households will not have to decide whether to eat or heat their homes.

"A social tariff would put in place reduced pricing for those on low incomes and pensioners. I believe we should also look at the South of Ireland where older people have significant support when it comes to energy costs." ENDS

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