Patsy McGlone MLA for Mid Ulster

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Assembly Questions

Patsy McGlone 10th April 2017

McGlone Welcomes Proposed Changes to Affordable Warmth Scheme

SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster Patsy McGlone has welcomed proposed changes to the income threshold for the Affordable Warmth Scheme. The proposals were revealed by the Department for Communities in a response to concerns raised by the Mid Ulster MLA that the current threshold was 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, “I recently contacted the Department of Communities to highlight concerns from a number of my constituents who had contacted my office about their applications to the Affordable Warmth Scheme being refused because their household income was just above the allowed limit.

“In their response the Department have acknowledged that they have been advised by a fuel poverty expert that single person households are more likely to benefit from the Affordable Warmth Scheme than are families under the current arrangements.

“As a result they are proposing several changes to the Affordable Warmth Scheme, including raising the income threshold to £23,000 for households with more than one adult and reducing it to £18,000 for all single person households.

“The Department is also proposing the removal of Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carer’s Allowance from the calculation of income for the Affordable Warmth Scheme. These changes will be subject to public consultation later in 2017.

“I welcome the proposed changes which will help address the current bias against families on low incomes under the current arrangements - particularly those households which include people with disabilities.

“I will be lobbying for the implementation of these proposals as quickly as possible.”