Helping Households

The DUP recognises the challenges people are facing in the current economic climate, and believes there is an onus on the Government to do what it can to assist.

Helping Households

The DUP would seek to:

  • Work to keep household bills at a minimum, ensuring that Northern Ireland continues to have the lowest bills anywhere in the UK
  • Conduct an inquiry into insurance costs- including car, contents and buildings insurance- in the Province compared with Great Britain, covering local insurance industry practice and the role of the legal sector
  • Produce a Financial Capability strategy
  • Explore partnership opportunities with organisations such as Charis to pilot an holistic financial capability programme for those who end up in debt arrears
  • Prepare young people at school for managing finances
  • Ensure availability of appropriate debt advice services
  • Continue to press for a fair fuel stabiliser
  • Address the poverty premium which results from poorer people not being able to buy in larger quantities or access potential savings through direct debit, energy metering etc
  • Deliver a package extending to hundreds of millions of pounds for savers with the Presbyterian Mutual Society


FUEL POVERTY

  • Drive down fuel poverty in the short term to a level comparable with the rest of the United Kingdom
  • Refocus action on fuel poverty towards those in the most severe need since under the current definition almost half of the Province’s population is considered to be in fuel poverty
  • Promote energy efficiency measures in homes of all tenure types
  • Establish one single telephone point of contact for all energy efficiency and fuel poverty advice
  • Adopt and develop an Energy Assistance Package approach to maximise the number of people in Northern Ireland who would receive good energy efficiency advice and assistance
  • Promote energy brokering involving large public bodies and businesses willing to demonstrate corporate social responsibility
  • Increase flexibility in the Warm Homes Scheme to allow for repairs and upgrades of existing broken or inefficient oil and gas heating systems
  • Fully implement a Boiler Scrappage Scheme for Northern Ireland


WELFARE

  • Fight the case with the Department for Work and Pensions that welfare reforms should not disproportionately impact on Northern Ireland in a negative way
  • Support and implement logical welfare reforms that simplify the social security system and assist people to move from welfare to work
  • Oppose any attempts to breach parity that would place at risk Northern Ireland’s annual £3 billion social security subvention
  • Pilot automatic payment of benefits
  • Develop collaborative, long-term benefit uptake campaigns which utilise data held by Government Departments and agencies, target groups and include outreach activities
  • Further improve the processing system to take greater account of, and show more sensitivity to, the difficulties experienced by people with conditions such as autism
  • Support expansion of the winter fuel allowance to cancer sufferers
  • Increase the use of telephony and online benefit applications
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