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UUP's fuel poverty fight

By Noel McAdam

Published 18/09/2007

Ulster Unionists will today attempt to extract a Ministerial commitment to the eradication of fuel poverty in Northern Ireland in the next three years.

The party said it made no apology for returning to the issue for the second time in four months after the Social Development Department's scrutiny committee was told fuel poverty could become a thing of the past.

Fred Cobain, chairman of the committee, said it was hoped Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie would "firm up" on the commitment after commissioning detailed research on the issue. But the North Belfast Assembly member said he did not believe the target of 2010 could be met.

The Department said it would issue a statement following this afternoon's debate in the Assembly on an almost word-for-word motion from the UUP from the last debate in May. Mrs Ritchie has already said, however, her aim is to eradicate fuel poverty by the end of this decade.

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