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