As the controversial RHI scheme attracts political criticism amidst recrimination, blame and counter blame, local businessman Liam Brown of Enviroform Insulation in Warrenpoint has expressed his dismay at the broader implications for those people suffering from Fuel Poverty.
“This money could have been spent on insulating the very large number of properties across Northern Ireland where people are living in homes they can’t heat. Fuel poverty is a real issue whilst we are hearing of people burning fuel to heat properties that don’t need it for financial gain. It is immoral.”
He explained: “There are at least 10-15000 solid wall properties left uninsulated in Northern Ireland with the people living there, mostly in fuel poverty. They can’t afford to insulate their homes properly, so they are losing money on heating that is inefficient because much of the heat is lost through poor insulation. It is the Catch 22 of insulation. And it could be addressed.”
“If the government is serious about addressing Fuel Poverty, they could have done so. The value added benefits would have been local job creation for people installing systems, generating money back into the local economy. Also we would be less dependent on fossil fuel. It would also have generated VAT income for the government.
Liam Brown explained that Sammy Wilson at the time rejected the Green Deal when he was in post. The reasons weren’t clear even tough it made commercial sense.
“Aside from the political fall out from RHI and the point scoring going on, our politicians and commentators need to look at this broader issue which has been ignored in the furore over the catastrophic RHI scheme.
“£400 million would go a long way to addressing the issue of Fuel Poverty amongst those in most need in our society. It is a shameful situation.”