Minister welcomes review of fuel poverty definition

Source : Department for Social Development
Published on 06 September 2011 04:30 PM

Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland MLA, has welcomed the publication of a report by the University of Ulster entitled ‘Defining Fuel Poverty in Northern Ireland: A Preliminary Review’.

Minister McCausland said: “In my department’s fuel poverty strategy ‘Warmer Healthier Homes’ published in April, we gave a commitment to carrying out an evaluation of the current definition of fuel poverty. This report was essential to helping my department target our resources at those most in need.”

The Review has concluded that applying a revised calculation based on total energy costs, a core of 13% of householders in Northern Ireland are in fuel poverty.

Minister continued: “This 13%, around 75,000 households, are in severe fuel poverty by national standards. For this group, fuel poverty is likely to lead to a public health concern, since many of these people may be living in homes that are below minimum standards. In order to prioritise those most in need, these households must become the primary focus of Northern Ireland’s Fuel Poverty Strategy.”

Minister McCausland went on to say: “While the report is hugely beneficial in helping my department target resources at a core group of householders, it in no way dilutes the very real difficulties facing many other households across Northern Ireland.”

The Review, one of three being carried out across the UK, was lead by Professor Christine Liddell, a local fuel poverty expert. She commented: “While efforts to tackle fuel poverty in Northern Ireland have made measurable inroads, the severity of fuel poverty remains profound for many households. The Review highlights the need for a local approach to tackling fuel poverty which focuses on Northern Ireland’s unique fuel poverty landscape.”

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