Swann steps up boiler scheme pressure

Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member, has challenged the Stormont Executive and especially the Social Development Minister to ensure the Boiler Replacement Scheme stays on course.

Assemblyman Swann, who is also North Antrim UUP Chairman and Party Chief Whip, threw down the gauntlet to the Executive during a ministerial question.

The UUP MLA stressed he intended to keep the pressure on DSD Minister over the extension of the boiler replacement scheme.

“I asked the Minister for Social Development, in relation to the pilot Boiler Replacement Scheme when a full evaluation will commence and be completed, and when a new scheme will be launched.

“In his response, the Minister told me an evaluation of the pilot Boiler Replacement Scheme has commenced and will be completed by the end of April.

“Once the evaluation has been completed, he hoped to be in a position to make an announcement about future schemes.

“Earlier during this Assembly session, I asked the minister if he could detail how many boilers he expected to have replaced at this point in time, and was he content with the current progress.

“In that response to me, the minister said he estimated that the total amount of money would have assisted 1,300 households. The most recent figure he had was that there have been 500 successful applications. By the end of the year, he hoped that we will be well up towards our target.

“I fully intend to ensure I keep the minister to his schedule for the benefit of constituents. For many people, having their boiler replaced as soon as possible could well be the difference between deciding to keep warm or deciding to eat,” said Assemblyman Swann.