Communities Minister Urged To Take Control Of Emergency Fuel Scheme

The Communities Minister must take control of the Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme rather than passing the buck to a charity, DUP MLA Paula Bradley has said.

Making the call, the North Belfast MLA said: "It will come as little surprise to anyone that there has been huge demand for the Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme. The huge increases in fuel prices recently has put pressure on households right across Northern Ireland and putting many in crisis.
News Image
"This level of demand shouldn't come as a surprise to the Communities Minister, and certainly if she is in touch with the issues dealt with by her Department. At the very first hurdle this scheme has experienced huge problems for applicants, but the only response from the Department is that its "an operational matter" for Bryson. That isn't good enough.

"It seems the Minister chose this route simply to allow her to pass the buck for any problems onto a charity. It took far too long to get this scheme running in the first place, and at the first sign of problems it seems the Department is attempting to wash its hands of the scheme.

"Deirdre Hargey needs to take control of the situation in terms of both operation and delivery. People experiencing fuel poverty deserve better than a Minister whose main priority appears to be dodging criticism."

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

29 April 2022
Other News In Brief
Fresh Call For Full Public Inquiry Into The Covid Pandemic Nichola Mallon has reiterated her call for a full public inquiry into the Covid pandemic.
26 April 2022
Moy Park Announces 'Spring Chicken' Foodbank Initiative
Moy Park has announced a new initiative that will see the leading food company donate £100,000 worth of products to local foodbanks. The 'Spring Chicken' initiative aims to provide foodbanks with quality nutritious produce to help those struggling with everyday living costs and poverty in our local communities.
02 December 2002
Claimants warned to apply early for winter fuel payments
The government has warned people who believe are eligible for Winter Fuel Payments to contact the government's helpline to ensure they can benefit from the scheme. Anyone reaching age 60 or over during the week 16-22 September 2002 will usually be entitled to a Winter Fuel Payments of £200.
20 September 2011
Gas Price Hike 'Fuels Winter Woes'
The gas supplier, Firmus Energy has ended its previously announced summer price freeze and is set to increase tariffs by over 35% from 1 October - fuelling fears over 'fuel poverty' among the most needy. It has around 8,500 customers in the greater Belfast area - compared to competitor, Phoenix Gas - that has more than 130,000.
17 September 2003
Over 60's urged to claim £200 winter fuel payment
Social Development Minister, John Spellar, has urged Northern Ireland's over 60’s to ensure they claim their Winter Fuel Payment in time for Christmas. Last year, more than 250,000 people benefited from the £200 payment in Northern Ireland. The Minister said: “Most people who qualify for this money will receive it automatically.