LOCAL SDLP Councillors Christine McFlynn and Deirdre Mayo have urged householders to take advantage of the replacement boiler scheme which is due to open for application in September.
The councillors were speaking after a NI Housing Executive presentation to Cookstown District Council.
Cllr McFlynn said: “With the rising costs of fuel, it is important to ensure that our homes are as energy efficient as possible. Replacing older boilers can dramatically improve that efficiency and be an important factor in combating fuel poverty for those on low-incomes. The new replacement boiler scheme will help many people who would otherwise not be able to afford to make those changes.”
Cllr Mayo added: “We raised a number of issues with the Housing Executive in addition to the new replacement boiler scheme.
“We highlighted the waiting list for social housing in the Cookstown area and the importance of identifying more sites for new-builds in areas of need.
“The cuts in housing benefit were also discussed and the effects of under occupancy on the amount of benefit being received. These measures are leaving many families in difficulty and having to find the additional rent.
“We were glad to hear that the Housing Executive is hopeful that the double glazing scheme can be restarted in the near future. They believe that a new design will reduce costs sufficiently to meet the Social Development Minister’s budget concerns.
Cllr McFlynn concluded: “The new replacement boiler scheme is aimed at owner occupiers on low-incomes. It will be open to householders who, together with their partner, have a gross household income of less than £40,000 per year.
“The existing boiler must also be at least 15 years old. Those who think they may be eligible can call now on 0300 200 7874 to find out more and check if they can apply, or visit online at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk.
“We urge all eligible householders to take advantage of the replacement boiler scheme.”