Monday 20 February 2017

400,000 households must cope with €120 a year less

Published 07/12/2011 | 06:00

NEARLY 400,000 households will see a reduction of €120 a year in fuel allowance payments from the Government.

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The Government is cutting the "fuel season" from 32 weeks at present to 26 weeks.

This means that recipients will lose out on payments of €20 a week for six weeks of the year -- a total of €120.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said recipients -- who are mainly those on long-term social welfare payments -- would still get the payment for the coldest winter months from mid-October to mid-April.

The number of people receiving it soared from 266,000 in 2005 to 390,000 this year, and the cost had trebled from €82m a year to €250m, which she said was unsustainable. The Government is projecting savings of €51m from this change next year.

However, older people's charities said this would have a disproportionate impact on the elderly who were already facing the choice between eating or heating.

ALONE chief executive Sean Moynihan said that this cut was a "life or death issue for the people we work with".

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