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'Fuel payments move step closer' - Anderson

6 January, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Fuel payments of £150 to vulnerable households yesterday moved a step closer to becoming a reality, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said:

"The legislation which is required to make these payments is currently being rushed through,"

"As part of that process, the committee of the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister met today (Monday) to discuss the proposals with the Junior Ministers.

"The legislation can now go forward on accelerated passage which will speed the process up considerably and it is hoped we can get this money into the hands of those who need it by around the end of January or beginning of February.

"However, this Bill is not just about paying the £150 fuel credits to vulnerable households - it goes much further than that.

"It will create new powers for the Executive allowing us to take swifter initiatives in response to future financial emergencies.

"Until now, the Executive has been unable to intervene directly without having to change the law first.

"This new bill will give us powers to respond directly and immediately to any future financial hardship and provide assistance and finances where they are most needed.

"I believe that will allow the Executive, for the first time, to make a real and swift impact in terms of alleviating the hardship facing ordinary people."

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