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Assembly calls for action on Northern Ireland fuel price rises

Fair and affordable energy prices are essential in Northern Ireland, the Assembly has said.

It called on Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster to co-operate with Utility Regulator Shane Lynch to help people suffering from high costs.

One third of elderly clients in a Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) survey have had to make the choice between heating and other essential items such as food, with the cost of gas, electricity and coal rising.

A new report from CAB shows a desperate picture of fuel poverty in Northern Ireland, particularly in rural areas.

Sinn Fein energy spokesperson Phil Flanagan said: “While the average price for 900 litres of home heating oil is £531.11, the basic rate of state pension is £102. The maths are easy — it costs pensioners over five weeks' pension for one tank of oil. That is unacceptable.”

The motion, which was passed unanimously, was that the Assembly recognises the severe financial pressure on families and small businesses from the recent increase in energy prices and calls on the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to liaise with the Utility Regulator to ensure fair and affordable pricing for energy.

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