Green Party welcomes Audit Office intervention in Fuel poverty hardship fund

Green Party Councillor Anthony Flynn said "We welcome news today that the Audit Office has launched an investigation into Belfast City council's use of Strategic partners regarding the fuel poverty hardship fund."

"We were clear from the outset that we didn't think the strategic partners were the appropriate mechanism to get these vouchers out to those most in need, we raised concerns specifically around capacity and other risks associated with using these groups. These groups were selected during Covid at a very difficult time, and we have called for a review of those groups."

"We also raised concerns around the eligibility criteria that was set by Sinn Fein and the DUP, with an arbitrary household income limit set at £60k was not appropriate. We argued that it should have been set at £43,400 based on Joseph Rowntree Foundations minimum income to achieve a decent standard of living report, something Sinn Fein and the DUP ignored."

"Belfast City Council should not have to develop a scheme like this, but because of the vacuum left by the lack of Stormont and the failure of executive parties to deliver adequate help and support for communities through an NI-wide scheme, backed up by a fuel poverty strategy, an anti-poverty strategy and an energy strategy, we have been left in a situation trying to plug gaps because of the failure of others."