The South Belfast MLA said: “This change in the Programme for Government is a worrying development. The fact that they have weakened their commitment to ending fuel poverty is deeply troubling.
“There is now no date that they aim to end fuel poverty by. If they just meet their annual target, it could take between fifteen and twenty years to eradicate this problem instead of the original eight years.
“This change illustrates the real lack of ambition within this Executive.
“Fuel poverty is an important issue but yet some parties are not willing to move it forward. We have already seen the example of the UUP bringing the exact same motion on fuel poverty to the Assembly twice within a few months. People who have to deal with fuel poverty on a daily basis will feel insulted by these blows.
“Some important questions need to be answered on this change in the Executive’s plans. Why have they removed their commitment to end fuel poverty and replaced it with a weaker aim?”
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Draft Programme for Government’s Public Service Agreement 7.4 said that the Executive would eradicate fuel poverty in all vulnerable homes by 2010 and in all homes by 2016; but the final version of the PFG now merely says that they will end fuel poverty in 9,000 homes annually