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Sinn Féin demand tariffs as fuel poverty soars

9 February, 2009

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has revealed that 40% of people in the North are now believed to be living in fuel poverty - almost four times the level in England.

Martina Anderson said:

"The energy regulator will tell the Assembly this week that fuel poverty in the North is estimated to be at 40 percent - this compares with the 2006 levels in England of 12%, 23% in Scotland, 21% in Wales and according to the latest figures available from the Institute of Public Health in the South the figure there is 18.1%. In other words fuel poverty here is almost double that in every other region in these islands.

"That is an absolutely scandalous situation which highlights the need for greater control on the energy industry here.

"Fuel prices are higher here and there is a lack of competition in the market which means prices remain high and more and more people are being forced into fuel poverty.

"It is against that backdrop that the Assembly introduced legislation to allow for £150 fuel poverty payments to be made and I hope those in need will receive that payment in the very near future.

"However, it's clear that a longer-term solution must be found and Sinn Féin will continue to press for the introduction of social tariffs on the energy companies.

"These companies are making huge profits and such tariffs would compel them to redirect some of those profits in order to reduce bills for the most vulnerable households.

"There are currently no social tariffs in operation in the North of Ireland but given the high rates of fuel poverty here, I believe that all of us should be demanding their implementation as soon as possible."

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