Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland 'bringing up the rear' on fuel poverty

Cash in hand
Image caption The charity said Northern Ireland is the worst region in the UK for fuel poverty

Northern Ireland is "bringing up the rear" when it comes to tackling fuel poverty, according to the charity Age Sector Platform.

The charity said fuel poverty had contributed to 2,390 extra winter deaths in Northern Ireland over the last four years.

It said some schemes in the rest of the UK exclude Northern Ireland.

The problem in NI is worse than any other region of the UK, with 42% of households in fuel poverty, it added.

People with respiratory or circulatory problems have had their conditions exacerbated by fuel poverty leading to many excess deaths in recent years, according to the charity.

Age Sector Platform is calling for more to be done to tackle the problem and is hosting a pensioners parliament on fuel poverty in Belfast on Wednesday.

"Today's pensioners parliament on fuel poverty will see older people from across Northern Ireland coming together to talk about the causes of fuel poverty and the potential solutions that could help," the charity's Francis Hughes said.

"The pensioners parliament has already called for the extension of the warm home discount to Northern Ireland, which provides the poorest pensioners with £140 off their annual energy bill.

"We have also called for the extension of the gas network so that more people have a choice to heat their homes with oil or gas.

"Finally, it's clear older people's homes must become more energy efficient to ensure their limited incomes go further when paying their energy bills."

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