Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Social tariffs needed to tackle fuel poverty

10 May, 2007

Sinn Féin Equality spokesperson, Foyle MLA Martina Anderson has welcomed the call from the watchdog group Energywatch for the British Government to force energy firms to make their lowest prices into 'social tariffs' for people most in need.

Ms Anderson said.

"Fuel poverty is an increasing problem, particularly in the North where energy costs are much higher than many other areas of similar population. Energywatch wants the British Government to take the lead in identifying the neediest customers and to make household fuel more affordable to low-income households creating "social tariffs" for people most in need.

"The call from Energywatch comes at a time when there are more than three million households in fuel poverty, which means they are spending more than 10% of income on gas and electricity. The watchdog has also revealed that since 2003 in some areas household gas prices have increased by 70% and electricity by 52%.

"Sinn Féin on many occasions has highlighted the fact that major opportunity's to put in place targets that would meaningfully tackle the true scale of the problem have been missed. The official figures only represent the tip of the iceberg.

"At every twist and turn the approach to eradicating fuel poverty is minimal and disjointed .There must be more joined up thinking and partnership between the energy companies and the groups working on the ground helping those who are living in fuel poverty. It can't be done is isolation." ENDS

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