Carrickfergus Alliance Councillor Stewart Dickson has welcomed Health Minister Tony Worthington’s decision to provide cold weather payments to Northern Ireland’s pensioners.
Alderman Dickson, who is the new health spokesperson for the Alliance Party, said the payments would be appreciated by Northern Ireland’s pensioners – particularly after last weekend’s treacherous weather conditions.
Alderman Dickson said: “I would like to commend the Minister for providing these winter payments. Many pensioners faced a bleak Christmas as a result of the bad weather.
“The necessary conditions for payments were triggered by recent storms and bad weather. However, the Department of Health and Social Services does not take into account higher domestic fuel costs in Northern Ireland.
“I understand that funding for solid fuel in glass fronted fires has not been provided and despite recent reductions in electrical prices – costs are still very high. And for most domestic customers – gas is not yet a reality.
“If the bad weather continues, I would hope that the Government would take all the matters that I have listed into account. If the bad weather continues – it’s essential that the Government looks after Northern Ireland’s pensioners.”