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NIE price rise will hit those least able to pay

1 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin commenting on the 10.8% increase in NIE electricity costs has said that this will hit those least able to pay hardest.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"This latest increase in electricity prices comes against a backdrop of sustained increases in the cost of living with increased gas and heating oil costs and the proposed water charges.

"Yet with the number of children living in poverty in the north reaching epidemic proportions and the increasing number of older people dying each year as a result of the cold is an indictment of this society.

"We need to see a genuine strategy that will tackle poverty and eliminate fuel poverty because increasing numbers of people are being caught in the poverty trap and are facing the types of stark choices about whether to pay bills or buy food. This is totally unacceptable.

"While NIE are to some extent at the mercy global markets it is encouraging to see that they have brought forward at £1 million fund for vulnerable customers aimed at combating fuel poverty. Now we need to see the wider problems of poverty being addressed by bringing forward a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy." ENDS

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