SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster Patsy McGlone
has warned that the current £20,000 income threshold for the Affordable
Warmth Scheme is excluding many people in real fuel poverty. The Affordable
Warmth Scheme was set up by the Department for Communities to address fuel
poverty in the private housing sector. It is administered by the Housing
Executive and the local Councils on behalf of the department.
Mr McGlone said, “A number of
constituents have contacted my office in recent weeks concerned that their
applications to the Affordable Warmth Scheme have been refused because their
total household income was just above the £20,000 threshold.
“There are cases where families have
been refused assistance through the scheme even though they are in receipt
of means-tested benefits and people in the house have disabilities. In some
of these cases they are only a few pounds above the income limit.
“The energy efficiency measures
promoted through the scheme are designed to help people who are experiencing
fuel poverty by making their bills cheaper.
“The problem is that the current
income limit for assistance is so low that it is excluding a lot of people
the scheme is aimed at, especially families on low pay and people with
“Unless the application comes from
someone living alone, or from pensioners on very low incomes, it seems to be
very difficult to qualify under the scheme.
“I have contacted the Department of
Communities about this problem, and have arranged a meeting with the Housing
Executive to discuss it further.”