The party’s communities spokesperson Andy Allen, in a statement, said: “This crisis requires a joined-up response from across government, especially the Departments for Communities and Economy. Therefore, I am again calling on the minister for communities to set up a fuel poverty task force to develop solutions and interventions that can be brought forward promptly after May 5, to provide much-needed support for thousands of people.”
He continued: “Furthermore, the emergency fuel payment scheme should be extended to provide a safety net.
“The overwhelming majority of people I have spoken to want to see politicians working to deliver solutions to the cost-of-living crisis.”
The SDLP’s deputy leader Nichola Mallon, meanwhile, has said there is a need to widen support measures beyond those covered by the social security system.
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Ms Mallon was speaking ahead of a virtual meeting on the inflation crisis with representatives from the Republic of Ireland, England and Scotland.
She said there was a need for political leaders across the UK and Ireland to “put their heads together” to find the most effective ways to address spiralling living costs.
Earlier this year, Stormont ministers agreed a £200 payment for people in receipt of certain benefits to help with rising energy costs. Ms Mallon said all households in Northern Ireland should now receive a similar payment.
“I think anyone who is rooted in their community, anyone who has been knocking doors will be left in no doubt that the single biggest issue in this election is the cost-of-living crisis,” she told the PA news agency.
“We know that we have been able in the past to provide support to people on social security but there are many, many families who are working full time who haven’t received a single penny from government who are now in a situation where they’re having to choose between feeding and heating their homes.”