Anderson to oppose winter fuel payments cuts

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has criticised plans to cut the winter fuel allowance for some pensioners.

Ms Anderson raised the issue after plans to cut £50 from pensioners under 80 years-old and £100 from those over 80 years-old were suggested.

“I recognise and empathise with the needs of our older citizens who are all too often forgotten in the everyday machinations of government,” the Foyle MLA said.

The Sinn Féin candidate vowed to campaign for the needs of older people. “It is important that politicians do not lose sight of the needs of that section of society that has contributed throughout their lives to gaining and protecting those rights and privileges that we now enjoy. Older people are an integral and influential section of society and should be listened to as they have much to contribute. Unannounced in the recent budget is the Treasury plan to reduce the winter fuel allowance by withdrawing £50 from those pensioners under 80 and £100 from those over 80,” she said.

Ms Anderson also said the move would create great financial difficulty for older people locally. “For many pensioners, already living in fuel poverty it will come down to a straight choice between heating and eating. Given this government’s claim that ‘we are all in this together’ then one has to ask how it allowed bonuses for bankers in the region of £7bn whilst cutting a further £600m from those most in need.

“Sinn Féin campaigned for and supported the appointment of the Older People’s Commissioner and I would urge organisations and individuals concerned with issues affecting the lives of our senior citizens to avail of the this Office.”