Latest energy price rises will plunge yet more into poverty – Cllr Brian Smyth

Cllr Brian Smyth has called for urgent intervention after the latest price increases for electricity were announced by SSE Airtricity, effecting nearly 160,000 households from next week.

The Green Party NI councillor for Lisnasharragh said, ‘We were warned last year that this would happen, and have already been impacted by price rises since then, yet steps were not taken to ensure that the most effected were given help.

Basic fuel price increases must be mitigated, and the Northern Ireland Executive has powers to do this without Westminster intervention. We already have soaring levels of poverty in our society, which is damning on the previous Executive Ministers who have all failed in tackling these issues. This is a stark reminder that we cannot continue to base our energy needs on fossil fuels. The need for a just transition is greater than ever.

Even if a Speaker and Ministers were nominated tomorrow, there is little faith that the Executive will take the decisions needed to help, given their track record on dealing with crises. We have no fuel poverty strategy, despite repeated calls for one to be implemented and resourced. They have continued to allow homes to be built where people are heating the street, and have a track record of blocking extension of welfare mitigations being discussed at Executive level.