McCann hits out at excessive gas price hike
Sinn Fein Assembly Candidate for West Belfast, Jennifer McCann, has hit out at the latest price hike of 40 per cent by Phoenix Gas stating:
"Once again we are seeing a huge rise in gas prices locally. Only last Friday I attended an event organised by the Fuel Poverty Coalition which highlighted that stark fact that almost half the households in the north of Ireland are already living in fuel poverty.
“This included 76 per cent of people over the age of 75 years and 90 per cent of cancer patients who cannot afford to heat their homes. The harsh reality is that there is in excess of 1,000 deaths per year in the north of Ireland alone due to fuel poverty.
“While many people still rely on oil for heat there are an increasing number of people, particularly in social housing, that now use gas. This 40 per cent hike by Phoenix Gas will have a major impact on the weekly household budget and will effect those who are already struggling due to low incomes and cuts in welfare benefits.
“I would strongly urge the Utility Regulator and Phoenix Gas to review this decision. I will also be pressing for, in the new mandate, that the Executive set up a Cross Departmental Ministerial Taskforce to prioritise and tackle the issue of fuel poverty as it is disgraceful that anyone should be dying because the cannot afford to heat their homes."