Sinn Féin - On Your Side


10 September, 2008


Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast and deputy Chairperson of the Assembly Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee, Jennifer McCann has called the severe hike in Phoenix Gas's price of 19.2% as unsustainable for customers. Ms McCann has also stated that this will lead to ever greater levels of fuel poverty amongst the most vulnerable in society.

Speaking after the Phoenix Gas announcement Ms McCann said:

'This is dramatic shift upwards in the price of natural gas with a 19.2% increase and only adds to the series of price hikes from Phoenix. . It was only just over five months ago, on the 1st of May that Phoenix raised prices by 28 percent. Are we to see the same in January 2009? The continued weak justifications for a large business passing running costs onto customers is unacceptable and Phoenix need to realise that customers cannot sustain this?

'Undoubtedly the impact will be felt most severely by those who are most vulnerable in society and can least afford the severe price rise which will ultimately lead to even greater levels of fuel poverty.

'With the serious price increases from energy companies people will now be forced to choose between a warm home this winter and other essentials. This cannot be allowed to happen. I have already called for a social tariff to be implemented by the Executive to help those on low incomes and pensioners.

'One of the key priorities of the Executive in the coming term is to tackle poverty and disadvantage. As more and more people are experiencing financial difficulties as a result in rising prices, while benefits and wages remain the same, this issue needs to be acted upon with the greatest of urgency as we are now in autumn and winter is fast approaching.'

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