Ulster Unionist Social Development spokesperson Michael Copeland attended the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament today (Wednesday) at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Ormeau Road, Belfast to discuss and outline the Ulster Unionist Party’s position on issues affecting pensioners in Northern Ireland.
The East Belfast MLA said:
“The issues raised today have been raised consistently in the past by my Party, such as fuel poverty, Winter Fuel Payments and the uptake of benefits by pensioners.
Northern Ireland has the highest fuel poverty rate in the United Kingdom and it is an area that Stormont urgently needs to address. Today as part of the panel, I raised concerns at the continuation of the reduced level of Winter Fuel Payment, the need for greater regulation of the Home Heating Oil industry and the benefits of a social tariff for pensioners to be applied by energy companies. “
The Pensioners Parliament also raised concerns surrounding the potential introduction of a two-tier pensions system and the removal of the Age-Related Allowance in the taxation system.
“I have serious reservations regarding the impact of such measures as older people are in a unique situation where their income is fixed yet they also face the highest levels of inflation of any age group due to the level of expenditure on food and fuel.
“This combined with the loss of £100million from the Winter Fuel Payment could have a serious impact on the quality of life of our older generation.”