Cost of living crisis in Derry : Your views

The turn of the year has seen a sharp rise in oil heating, gas, petrol and electricity and the increases are becoming a crisis for many as rates have almost tripled in a year.

The NI Consumer Council has shown that oil heating has gone up by 35% in just one week. Around two thirds of homes in NI use heating oil as their main source.

The price for 500 litres of oil at one point this week rose to £669, this being a staggering 75% jump from February 23. The people in Derry have spoken out about this ongoing living crisis. By Saturday it had fallen back sligfhtly to £610.

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Connie McLaughlin said: “I’ve been spending far too much, even with electric. I am going through £60 a week on it. We’ve had to turn a lot of stuff off to save electricity.

We asked people in Derry city centre for their views on the impact of the cost of living crisis.

“The gas has to be kept on at all times because I suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I need to have heat. I was sent into the hospital four months ago, so this is the first day I’ve been out.

“It’s actually warmer out here today than it would be at home. Firmus need to start thinking of the people here, the old and the sick. Why are we voting? I have said that to my local MLA and asked why am I voting?”

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John Lindsay said: “The situation is horrendous. We can’t switch suppliers, which was the whole selling point of privatisation. I am on gas, I have no choice as I am with the Housing Executive. We should be able to switch suppliers.

“The payments they are making will help if you qualify, but other working people on low wages don’t. It is a long time coming, and this is what people should have been screaming about.”

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Pat and Eamon McGlinchey.

Mel Bradley said: “I think it is a disgrace, it is shocking.

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“I mean buying 500 litres back in September for £200, and now paying over £500 (now over £600) for it.

“How are people supposed to afford that? Obviously it is a filtered down thing, but there has to be some sort of sanction brought in so that a high amount of profit is not being extorted from people; because that is exactly what is happening.

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“There is the electricity companies too; who say they have to pay Environmental Tax. Can we find a way of investing in helping people to become more renewable? It cannot continue like this. People are struggling.”

Connie McLaughlin.
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Eamon McGlinchey said: “It is terrible, especially when you’ve kids. If you’re on the cutting edge and it’s biting, it is difficult for people.

“It is hard enough as it is anyway with everything going up. I got a fill of oil in December. It was £259, and it has just gone up to £509 (now £669) for 500 litres.

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“ If you take a young family or older people on a pension, then how do they manage? They need heat all the time.”

Pat McGlinchey said: “There is talk of payment to those on a Pension Credit or Universal Credit in order to help people and support people. In this respect I don’t think there is much the MLAs can do, it is not their fault. It is tough on everybody.”

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John Lindsay.

Seamus Doherty said: “We’ve the oil and we haven’t turned it on.

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“The radiators upstairs in the bedrooms are turned off. When we have the grandchildren staying with us then we turn it on, but we’ve never had to turn them off before.”

Seamus Doherty.
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Mel Bradley.