Press Release

Social Development Committee to Address Fuel Poverty

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Sunday, 23 October 2011

Reference: SD 06/11/12

The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Social Development agreed today that it will work proactively with other Assembly Committees to encourage the development and delivery of an effective Inter Departmental plan of action to address and eradicate fuel poverty in Northern Ireland.

Committee Chairperson Alex Maskey said, “The Committee previously heard from the National Energy Action and Fuel Poverty Coalition in Northern Ireland and were concerned to learn  that more than 300,000 households here in are in fuel poverty. This is nearly three times higher than levels in England and significantly higher than the rates in Scotland and Wales. 

“The recent hike in energy prices combined with our reliance on expensive home heating oil clearly makes the problem worse and dramatically increases the number of people affected by fuel poverty, particularly as we enter the colder winter months.

“Having heard from the Department of Social Development yesterday (September 22) on its new Fuel Poverty Strategy, the Committee is anxious to ensure that all possible measures are taken across the relevant Departments to address the important issue of fuel poverty which impacts directly on the most vulnerable people here. 

“Over the coming weeks, we will be speaking to relevant Assembly Committees about how we can work together to find workable solutions towards ending fuel poverty here.”   


Notes to Editors:
Notes to Editor:
Ending Fuel Poverty: A New Strategy for Northern Ireland

On 15 March 2011, the then Minister for Social Development Minister Alex Atwood MLA published a new Fuel Poverty Strategy for Northern Ireland for the next four years to address fuel poverty and help vulnerable people who are struggling to heat their homes. The full Strategy can be accessed via the following link http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/warmer-healthier-homes.pdf

The Northern Ireland Fuel Poverty Coalition

The Northern Ireland Fuel Poverty Coalition was launched on the 1 November 2010 in response to the increasing serious levels of fuel poverty in Northern Ireland. Further information on the work of the Northern Ireland Fuel Poverty Coalition can be found on their website http://www.fuelpovertycoalition.org.uk

National Energy Action Northern Ireland

NEA is the national energy action charity working in Northern Ireland to eradicate fuel poverty through campaigning, information, training, education and demonstration of good practice.  NEA has been working in Northern Ireland for over ten years and has built up expertise around all aspects of the causes, consequences, nature and extent of fuel poverty across Northern Ireland. Further information on the work of National Energy Action Northern Ireland can be found on their website

http://www.nea.org.uk/northern-ireland/

The Committee for Social Development membership is:

Alex Maskey MLA (Chairperson)
Mickey Brady MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Gregory Campbell MLA, MP
Judith Cochrane MLA
Michael Copeland MLA
Sammy Douglas MLA
Mark H Durkan MLA
Alex Easton MLA
Pam Lewis MLA
Fra McCann MLA
David McClarty MLA

The Clerk of the Social Development Committee is:

John Simmons
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 90 521864
Mobile: 07900053929
Email: john.simmons@niassembly.gov.uk

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