Patsy McGlone MLA for Mid Ulster

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Assembly Questions

Patsy McGlone 3rd April 2017

McGlone: Affordable Warmth Scheme Failing to Address Real Fuel Poverty

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 disabilities.

“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.”