The Lagan Valley MLA stated: “There are many people out there who are entitled to the winter fuel payment but do not even bother to collect it because they do not need it. This cash is simply going back into the treasury’s coffers, when it could go towards helping older people who cannot foot their ever-increasing energy bills.
“I would like to see a fund, administered by and older people’s pressure group, set up to allocate the donated payments to the older people who are in most need.
“There are many people who are over 60, like myself who work but would be prepared to sacrifice the payment. There are many who cannot work or who are on low incomes who need more support to survive.
“Every winter claims the lives of many pensioners in Northern Ireland and I want to take a radical approach to tackling this tragic issue.”