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Sinn Fein call on Margaret Ritchie to remove Economy 7 heating from Social Housing Dwellings

8 October, 2008

Sinn Fein call on Margaret Ritchie to remove Economy 7 heating from Social Housing Dwellings
Sinn Féin MLA Paul Butler has called on the Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie to remove all Economy 7 heating systems from social housing dwellings as part of her plans to tackle fuel poverty.

Paul Butler was speaking after the Chief Executive of the NIHE Paddy McIntyre revealed during a meeting with Lisburn Council this week that Economy 7 is still the heating system in thousands of dwellings across the North of Ireland.

Paul Butler said:

'Economy 7 is still used by over 11,000 Housing Executive tenants and runs on electricity. Despite the fact that it is regarded as uneconomical and costly to run by the Housing Executive there are no plans to remove the heating system. Many people will simply not be able to heat their homes given the huge increases in electricity prices. For many tenants with this heating system the choice will be to eat or heat given the cost of electricity.

"Fuel poverty is at epidemic levels across the north it affects 1 in 3 people and each year over 1300 older people die because of cold weather. The Housing Executive's annual report presented to Lisburn Council stated that in the North of Ireland fuel poverty has increased from 27% in 2001 to 34% in 2006. These figures do not take into account the huge increases in prices for gas and electricity this year. The reality is that the incidence of fuel poverty here will be much higher due to these price increases.
"The most vulnerable members of our community are most at risk from fuel poverty. Older people, people with disabilities, young parents, and long-term sick and low-income families use Economy 7 and Margaret Ritchie should act now and replace this outdated system of heating.

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