Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has criticised the government’s failure to extend the Fuel Allowance today.
The Fuel Allowance season ends today, Friday 8th April, meaning that vital supports for people struggling to pay fuel costs will suddenly stop.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“The Fuel Allowance is being stopped from today, due to the government’s failure to step in and extend the Fuel Allowance season. I have been urging the government to extend the season by 6 weeks and then keep this under review, as well as extending eligibility to people in receipt of Working Family Payment.
“It is shocking that the government is stopping the Fuel Allowance from today in the middle of a cost of living crisis. People are under huge pressure to pay their fuel and energy bills and the Fuel Allowance can be a vital lifeline to ensure that they can cover basic costs.
“The government’s failure to extend the Fuel Allowance today is yet another sign that they simply do not get the urgency of the crisis that people are in. Time and time again, we see no urgency from the government. Instead of showing decisive leadership, they are abandoning people in desperate need.
“Of course the government cannot do everything, but they can do much, much more than they currently are and extending the Fuel Allowance was a specific measure they could have taken in order to make a real difference to the lives of hard-pressed workers and families. People are being forced to choose between heating and eating. They don’t need more delays or excuses from the government, they need action now.
“Minister Humphreys also needs to ensure that financial supports are available through Community Welfare Officers, including those who are locked out of the Fuel Allowance and those working 30 hours or more per week, who are currently unable to access support through the Exceptional Needs Payment. These workers and families need an avenue to access support too.
“I am again urging the government to listen to Sinn Féin’s proposals on extending the Fuel Allowance season and eligibility. Our proposals are fully costed and deliverable. Taking this step would be a vital support to people under huge pressure to keep on top of their bills. The government must see sense and act now to help people hit by the cost of living crisis.”