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Doherty presses Minister for increased Winter Fuel Payments for over 60s

23 August, 2005

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty is calling upon the Minister of Social Development David Hanson to increase the Winter Fuel Payment Allowance for the over 60s to help offset the spiralling cost of home heating bills.

The local MP who has written to the Direct Rule Minister calling for the move said,

"With an almost 100% increase in the cost of home heating oil in the last year alone and with significant increases in the cost of other forms of home heating there is a need for the DSD Minister to urgently review the Winter Fuel Payment for the over 60s and to bring it into line with inflation.

"Fuel poverty affects around 25% of the population in the six counties and it's impact is most acutely felt amongst the elderly. It is estimated that more than 1,000 pensioners die each year because they cannot afford to keep their homes warm.

"Given that the elderly are the most vulnerable section of the community in terms of fuel poverty and given the unprecedented rise in home heating bills in the last year I have called on the Minister to legislate for a substantial increase in the Winter Fuel Payment Allowance." ENDS

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