Bradley calls for winter fuel payment

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Monday, April 1st, 2013
SDLP Finance Spokesperson Dominic Bradley MLA said his party backs calls on the Northern Ireland Executive, by the Pensioners Parliament, to provide assistance to pensioners living with the stark choice of eating or heating their homes. Age Sector Platform, a charity which represents 200,000 older people in Northern Ireland and is responsible for the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament has called on the Northern Ireland Executive to reinstate the £100 fuel payment made last winter to vulnerable pensioners struggling to heat their homes. The Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley said, “The reality is that 496 people, all aged over 65, died last winter from excess deaths in Northern Ireland. What does this say about our society? “We know from Age Sector Platform that four out of five older people are concerned about keeping warm in winter. What is the Executive doing to help struggling pensioners make ends meet when it comes to heating their homes? “It was for exactly this kind of assistance that the SDLP proposed an £80m Social Protection Fund. It was regrettable that the Executive only put £20m aside and as predicted, that was all spent last year. The SDLP however will continue to push for additional funding. Bradley added, “Low incomes against high energy costs and longer and colder winters mean more and more older people are literally having to choose between heating and eating. The Executive must act to save lives.”
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