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£1 Billion needed to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016

18 April, 2007

Sinn Féin Equality Spokesperson and Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has backed calls by the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group for the investment of £1 billion per year in a need to hit British Government targets of wiping out fuel poverty by 2016.

Ms Anderson said:

"Fuel poverty is an ever increasing problem and the calls by Fuel Poverty Advisory Group for the investment of £1 billion per year to meet British Government targets by 2016 shows just how far we have to go to redress the current imbalance that is causing increasing levels of fuel poverty.

"People living in the North of Ireland know only too well the high price of fuel and many households are struggling to meet their energy bills. It must also be remembered that wages here fall well short of the average used in many studies and the shortfall in pay is not matched nor is there a rise in benefits to offset those costs.

"There must also be proper guidelines put in place to stop the disparity in the cost of fuel or electricity bills by those who pay via the direct debit system and those that don't. Currently in most cases costumers who use the direct debit system will get a reduction in their energy bills. This will lead to a widening of the fuel poverty gap for those who can and can't afford to use the system or those who for example do not have a bank account and clearly that is wrong.

"We need to invest now to stop fuel poverty we cannot allow a two tier system to develop." ENDS

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