Pensioners Parliament calls on NI Executive to help older people stay warm

Pensioners Parliament

The Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament is calling on the Executive to provide urgent help to older people struggling to keep warm by using extra funds promised by the Treasury in December.

Age Sector Platform is making the appeal as it launches the fourth year of the Parliament today in Belfast.

Michael Monaghan, Chair of the NI Pensioners Parliament, commented: “Since the Parliament began in 2011, the top concern of pensioners here has been keeping warm in winter. Above any other issue, older people are worried about the price of heating their home; and unfortunately, provisional figures from this year’s survey are telling a very similar story. This problem is not going away.”

“Levels of fuel poverty are very high in Northern Ireland, particularly among pensioner households. We know that work is being done to address the energy efficiency of homes and develop a long term sustainable energy supply; however, this work is of little comfort to thousands of pensioners who are finding it tough now. That is why we are calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to use some of its additional funds to help pensioner households keep warm.”

“Provisional figures from the 2014 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament survey indicate that around four out of five older people here are worried about keeping warm in winter. That should be a shocking statistic, but it has become the norm. During each of the last three years of the Pensioners Parliament, the same proportion of older people has continued to be worried about the cost of energy; yet here we are in 2014 and older people’s concerns have still not been fully confronted.”

Around 130 pensioners from the Belfast area are expected to attend the official launch of the 2014 Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament today. Following the Belfast Pensioners Parliament, a number of ‘local parliaments’ will take place in the coming weeks and will be held in Enniskillen, Newry, Craigavon, Larne, Magherafelt and Omagh - ensuring a platform for older people to make their voice heard in every county.

Pensioners wishing to attend any of the upcoming parliaments should contact Age Sector Platform on 028 9031 2089 or email info@agesectorplatform.org. More information can be found at www.pensionersparliament.org.