More help needed for fuel poor - Colreavy
Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has said that more needs to be done to help the fuel poor.
Speaking following the announcement of Budget 2016, Deputy Colreavy said:
“While it is welcome to see a small rise in the fuel allowance, there has to be more action on helping those who are fuel poor.
“Fuel allowance has been increased by €2.50 per week for the applicable weeks.
“However, as energy prices for domestic customers have risen by approximately 25% since 2009, the real value of these payments has fallen.
“Up until 2009 the Fuel Allowance was increased annually by a means of increasing the weekly payment and increasing the number of weeks paid.
“This level of payment was then maintained until 2012, when the number of weeks paid was reduced from 32 to 26, reducing the annual value of the Fuel Allowance by €120.
“Therefore the cuts imposed by this government have not been reversed.
“Energy efficiency programmes, which can be effectively used to aid the fuel poor, must also receive priority.
“Sustainable Energy Programmes have increased from €43million to €58million for 2016.
“However, this is still well below the €79million allocated in 2011 and roughly around the €55million allocated in 2012.
“The government have promised a new scheme to help those suffering fuel poverty, but it must deliver on these promises, especially as the winter approaches.”