31 May 2007 Edition

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Older People suffering fuel poverty

Mickey Brady

Mickey Brady

Newry/Armagh MLA Mickey Brady Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Older People in the Six County Assembly, has said that households headed by older people are more likely to suffer from fuel poverty.
Speaking in the Assembly on Tuesday Brady said:
“In 2004 households headed by older people were much more likely to be living in fuel poverty, 39% of people aged between 60 and 74 and 42% of those aged 75 and over were more likely to be suffering fuel poverty than younger age groups.
“Older people are more likely to live in older houses which are less likely to be energy efficient. The Housing Executive House condition Survey 2004 demonstrates that a large proportion of older people are living in accommodation that is in an unfit state of repair or below the Decent Homes Standard.
“The rising cost of oil, gas and electricity leave many older people on low and fixed incomes at risk of fuel poverty.
“With the resources available here for heating, consider how difficult it is for the household in fuel poverty. It is an appalling statistic that approximately 200-300 older people die here yearly of cold - related illnesses.
“Fuel poverty has an impact on the health of both the old and young and this impacts directly on healthcare provisions.
“Only a concentrated and properly funded initiative to tackle fuel poverty will have any effect and this includes the provision of affordable social housing and realistic rates of benefits.”

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