Sinn Fein address ‘Heat or Eat’ Rally at Stormont
Sinn Fein MLA and spokesperson for Older people, Mickey Brady, today addressed the 'Heat or Eat' on the steps of Stormont today. The rally in which three to four hundred attended, was held to highlight older peoples concerns regarding provision of services and financial aid in order to reduce the impact of the credit crunch.
Speaking today Mr Brady said:
"Older people are the group in our society which is being hardest hit by the Credit Crunch. In August 2008 the average pensioner inflation reached 7.4%. When you compare this to 5.4% which is the inflation rate for non pensioners there is a significant difference.
"There are ways to address some of the many concerns faced by older people such as increasing the winter fuel payment to £500. If you look at the payment it currently stands at £250 which would only just fill half a fuel tank of oil fired central heating.
"There must also be a bigger drive to aid pensioners with the uptake of Pension credit. Up to 51% of older people are failing to claim the pension credit that they are entitled to. In fact £1.9 - £2millon every week of pension credit goes unclaimed. This money is returned to the British Exchequer and does not remain in the North of Ireland.
"I am advising these groups that claiming pension credit is not charity it is the money that have earned by paying tax for years, it is their right."