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£2.4 million for rural fuel poverty welcomed

17 September, 2008


Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has welcomed the announcement of £2.4 million to tackle fuel poverty in rural areas following agreement between Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA and the Social Development Minister.

Pat Doherty said:

"This will allow 630 rural homes to get the get the insulation and heating improvements they urgently need.

"Before this agreement these rural homes were not going to be covered by the Department of Social Development's Warm Homes Scheme so I want to congratulate Michelle Gildernew on making sure that people in rural communities are not disadvantaged.

"This announcement also shows that when we get decisive leadership that we can get help for people who would have otherwise of been excluded from this Warm Homes Scheme.

"The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has put forward a range of proposals that could make an immediate impact on the household burden, this included steps such as this from the Agriculture Minister to target rural fuel poverty.

"The McGuinness proposals also included the indefinite deferral of domestic contributions towards water and sewerage services and the establishment of an emergency fund to address fuel poverty. Both of these measures would make an immediate and long-lasting difference." ENDS

Note to Editors

The deputy First Minister's proposals include:

  • The indefinite deferral of domestic contributions towards water and sewerage services.
  • The establishment of an emergency fund to address fuel poverty.
  • Making the redirection of departmental spending efficiencies and unspent money across all Departments a priority of the September Monitoring Round.
  • The establishment of a Ministerial sub-group on anti-poverty.
  • The initiation of an effective benefits entitlements uptake campaign.
  • Completion of the joint DARD/DSD 'Warm Homes Scheme'.
  • Commissioning of a bulk buying scheme for oil.
  • Piloting renewable energy schemes in government buildings.
  • Establishment of a Special Relief Scheme.
  • Convening roundtable meetings with the social partners.
  • Development of joint initiatives with the Irish Government.

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