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Author: Age NI
Published on 21 April 2011 03:00 PM

Alliance party leader and South Antrim Assembly candidate, David Ford, has pledged his support to the High 5 campaign.

David Ford said, "I fully support Age NI and the Age Sector Platform’s High 5 Priorities for ageing well in Northern Ireland.

"Fuel poverty is a big problem in Northern Ireland particularly amongst older people given the ever-increasing fuel costs here.  It is a shame that some older people have to struggle between paying for heating or food bills.  I have listened to Age NI about their proposals for social tariffs and advocated on several occasions in Social Development Committee meetings on this issue. While the Alliance Party would increase the Winter Fuel Payment to reflect high energy prices, we would also target energy efficiency measures toward older people and the most vulnerable in society, reducing their dependency on fuel.

"Alliance is committed to the eradication of pensioner poverty.  We would support increasing the basic state pension, paid alongside other existing entitlements to provide some financial stability for all.  We are committed to restoring the link between pensions and the higher of earnings or prices.  We would support automatic payment of Pension Credit to those who are entitled to it as well as more initiatives to target older people to help them maximize their benefit entitlement. Alliance would also scrap the compulsory retirement age.

"We support the call for a fundamental review of social care provision and there needs to be more involvement from users/patients in the planning, commissioning and delivery of services, giving older people dignity, independence and choice.  We call for the examination of the most effective and sustainable way to introduce free personal care for those in residential and nursing homes and how best to support families when a loved one needs residential care.

"We would support the introduction of legislation to outlaw age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services. Alliance would advocate for a Single Equality Bill to bring together the pieces of discrimination legislation.  We want to see an end to unfair discrimination when it adversely affects the opportunities, goods and services available to older people."

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575