14,000 fewer families in fuel poverty
The number of households in fuel poverty in Northern Ireland has fallen because of better energy efficiency, figures show.
Almost 14,000 fewer families are unable to properly heat their homes following public investment in heating, insulation and double-glazing, the Department for Social Development said.
The proportion of those struggling to cope has reduced from 44% in 2009 to 42% last year.
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said energy-saving measures were having a positive impact. However, the National Energy Action campaign group said the Government should not be complacent.
Northern Ireland director Pat Austin said: “It is still outrageous that in the 21st century, 42% of households in Northern Ireland cannot afford to heat their homes. We call on the Northern Ireland Executive to redouble its efforts if this marginal reduction in fuel poverty is to lead to a meaningful reduction in fuel poverty.”
Mr McCausland said in the past year £37m had been invested in heating, insulation and double-glazing to improve energy efficiency in homes.