Latest Laois News: Fuel poverty grows in Laois
Families in Laois and Offaly hit hard with extra fuel costs – Brian Stanley
Speaking in the Dáil this morning on a Sinn Féin Fuel Allowance motion, Laois-Offaly TD Brian Stanley said:
“It has been an incredibly difficult year for many families across the Midlands who lost their jobs or faced a significant drop in income, through no fault of their own.
Currently, there are over 475,000 people in the State on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). 6,838 in Laois and 6,707 in Offaly.
The reality behind these figures are families struggling to pay their bills, to put food on the table and to pay for daily essentials.
Sinn Féin’s motion is aimed at providing some relief for these families. Our motion will amend the fuel allowance regulations to provide the fuel allowance payment to all families receiving the PUP.
We are also calling for a double payment of the fuel allowance for two weeks to be paid to existing claimants and those on PUP in February.
This means that workers who lost their jobs over the course of the pandemic and are on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will not be excluded from the fuel allowance payment
Households in the Midlands must also contend with the cessation of peat harvesting. Many families would have bought turf plots each year from Bord na Móna which offered a source of affordable fuel.
Those families now face having to buy much costlier sources of fuel for heating and cooking.
They also face for the second year running an increase in a the carbon tax, pushed through by Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens.
What these families badly need is an alternative source of affordable fuel.
The Minister also needs to confirm the situation around the moratorium on gas and electricity disconnections? The CRU announced in early January that they were introducing a new moratorium until the 31st of January.
Can the Minister confirm whether this has now discontinued and if it has, will he engage with the sector to ensure there is one in place until the pandemic.