Sinn Féin Moyle Councillor Cara McShane has welcomed a £2 million pilot Boiler Replacement Scheme, which has been launched by the Department of Social Development.
However, Councillor McShane has said there is much confusion in the local community with regards to the rationale for the decision to exclude those who are eligible for Housing Benefit from the scheme.
Cllr McShane said: “Whilst I welcome in principle the launch of this much needed Boiler Replacement Scheme, a large number of people have contacted me to find out why people who are eligible for Housing benefit are excluded from the scheme.
“The scheme is available to those over 60 who are in receipt of a pension and who can claim Rates Relief but not to those who can claim Housing Benefit, which makes no sense as the qualifying amount of personal savings for both benefits are very different, with over £16,000 of savings ruling someone out of Housing Benefit whereas the comparable figure for Rates Relief is £50,000.
“Sinn Féin has been in contact to Minister Nelson McCausland to find out why those with the least amount of savings are not entitled to this scheme.
“Amongst the community, there is widespread confusion about the rationale for the decision to exclude those who are eligible for Housing Benefit, who are often the most vulnerable and least well off people in our society.”