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People will need help to pay their bills

We have had unprecedented low temperatures for which our houses, heating systems and water supplies are not designed.

I have heard of people having to bring in buckets of snow to melt to flush toilets and even one woman filling her kettle with snow to make tea as the underground water supply to her house was frozen. Now comes the thaw and flooded houses.

Plumbers are busy at the best of times and will not be able to attend to all emergencies. It is essential that the Assembly, local councils and social services co-ordinate their efforts to relieve people's suffering.

As a volunteer advice worker, I am aware of the large number of people who have been made redundant, or have had their hours reduced because of the financial crisis.

Many people who already have debts must find it hard to pay for extra heat and plumbers' bills.

Can the gas, electricity and oil suppliers agree to allow people to stagger payments?

MARGARET MARSHALL

Belfast

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