Friday, 18 March 2011

Chill winds

IT emerged this week that almost half of Northern Ireland homes suffer from fuel poverty – that is a large proportion of their budget goes on heating their homes, with many unable to do so regularly.

Social Development Minister and self-proclaimed scourge of HM Treasury, Alex Attwood, has launched a £127m programme to replace old boilers and generally help out those facing the deep chill.

Now some have been less than enthused by the whole package but it raises a couple of issues.

First up, is this a minister that was really opposed to the budget. He got money for fuel poverty and abstained from the Budget vote. Surely the highly principled MLA had not been bought off?

Next issue is how did we get to this state of affairs? How did we end up with people living in a developed country that has so many people struggling with their fuel bills?

And finally, if Mr Attwood can get to meet the utility companies and oil suppliers so quickly, can he please pass on their phone numbers to see if we can cadge a discount too?

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