ALLIANCE Deputy Leader Eileen Bell MLA has welcomed the publication of the fuel poverty strategy today, with some reservation.
Mrs Bell said: “This is the first fuel poverty strategy, and that is to be welcomed. However, concerns remain that it does not deal adequately in terms of beefing up legislation or providing appropriate resources to ensure that the strategy is implemented in full. Targets would be useful, to ensure that the 203,000 in Northern Ireland who are vulnerable are dealt with quickly.
“The basic requirement to heat homes is a challenge that must be met. We should be looking to examples like Scotland, to ensure that all elderly automatically receive fuel assistance.
“Extending the Warm Homes Scheme criteria to include other vulnerable groups, as well as the over 60s and those on benefits, would go some way towards heating more homes in Northern Ireland, where are record has not been impressive.”