CONCERNED? YOU SHOULD BE
The price rise in fuel has far exceeded inflation. Logically pensioners should expect their winter fuel payments to increase for that reason. The reverse is true. Instead of increasing the benefit £50 has been deducted from the winter payment for those on income support.
People on the breadline who have just received letters telling them that their winter payment will be reduced from £300 to £250. We should all be deeply worried by this situation. For the elderly this is creating an impossible financial balancing act, keeping warm or eating a healthy balanced diet. A deficiency in either will lead to malnutrition or hypothermia.
The cost of fuel has increased over the last number of months and it makes no sense whatsoever that this payment should be reduced. If anything this payment should be increased. This is totally scandalous and I feel for the many people who cannot afford to get through this winter.
This reduction in payment will affect elderly people and people on income support. These are people who are already vulnerable. Fuel poverty is something we need to tackle in Northern Ireland but how can we do that if the very people who need assistance are receiving less than in previous years.
At present the rate of the Winter Fuel Payment varies greatly depending on whether the individual, or couple, in a household also receive Pension Credits - from £200 up to a maximum of £350 for those citizens aged 80 or over and in receipt of Pension Credits - but those levels have failed to keep pace with the ever-increasing costs of fuel, as world oil prices spiral upwards and the local cost of gas likely to experience a massive rise.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Posted by Parnell at 10:44 a.m.