Wednesday 23 November 2011

Westminster fails older people in Northern Ireland

On Tuesday evening our MPs proposed a motion in the House of Commons for the UK government to reverse its decision over cuts to winter fuel payments to older people. Payments will be reduced by £100 to over 80s and £50 to over 60s.

Fuel poverty, where households have to spend over 10% of their income heating their home, is a serious issue here and cutting the payments will lead to unneccessary suffering. Many older people have to choose whether to eat or heat their home in winter.

The facts are stark - in Northern Ireland 44% of older people are suffering from fuel poverty (2009 survey) whereas in England the figure is 15% of older people (2010 survey).

205 MPs voted for the motion, including many of our own Northern Ireland MPs and Labour MPs. Shockingly 280 MPs voted against the motion - it seems older people in Northern Ireland are not a priority for them. Pensions Minister Steve Webb appeared unmoved by the plight suggesting the cuts were "less than a pound a week".

Let us know what you think on this serious issue. Contact your local MLAs, write to Owen Paterson MP, David Cameron PM and Nick Clegg DPM. Making your voice heard will help.

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