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Expansion of Fuel Poverty Scheme welcomed

15 December, 2008 - by Carál Ní Chuilín

Sinn Féin Social Development spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has welcomed the intervention of the Office of the First and deputy First Minister to expand the fuel poverty to ensure that it now includes an additional 36,000 pensioners.

Ms Ní Chuilín said:

"The fuel poverty scheme announced today is a significant and welcome advance on that originally proposed. After interventions by OFM/dFM low income pensioners, who were specifically excluded from the original proposal, are now included. In real terms that means an additional 36,000 pensioners receiving a £150 fuel credit payment.

"Last week the DSD department criticised me for raising concerns about the nature of their original proposal. Given the fact that over the weekend the scheme was radically amended to take note of many of these concerns and was today supported by the DSD Minister Margaret Ritchie at the Executive I can only deduce that DSD now accept that their original proposal came up short." ENDS

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