Age NI says, ‘Our local Assembly must do more to protect older people this winter’

Source : Age NI
Published on 20 September 2011 04:00 PM

Age NI is calling for fuel poverty amongst older people to be addressed as a matter of urgency. More than 700 older people died last winter as a result of the cold.

With fuel poverty levels escalating and winter fast approaching, considerable action must be taken by our local Assembly now, to prevent a crisis this winter.

Speaking in the wake of an Assembly motion on Monday, Age NI’s Chief Executive Anne O’Reilly said, ‘While we welcome any debate on fuel poverty, it is frustrating that we continue to have the same discussion year after year. The debate on Monday focused on Westminster’s decision to reduce the Winter Fuel Payment, however our devolved Assembly has the mandate to help older people here. As well as lobbying Westminster, our MLA’s can take forward a range of actions to improve the lives of older people living in fuel poverty.'

Ms O’Reilly continued, 'Of course, as an age charity we are concerned by the Coalition Government’s decision to reduce Winter Fuel Payment this year. But we cannot allow this to detract from the fact that our own Assembly can and must take action in this regard.'

'Many older people in GB currently benefit from discounts on energy prices - these discounts are legislated by Government there. The NI Executive and Assembly must, as a matter of priority, ensure similar measures are developed in Northern Ireland.  If we fail to do this we will be having this same discussion ten years from now.  Its time for our Assembly to prove its worth.'

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