SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has called for a bespoke energy support scheme for Northern Ireland that recognises the unique supply circumstances that apply here.
The Foyle MP was speaking after speculation that the new British Prime Minister will back a plan to freeze electricity and gas prices which form the majority of heating systems in Britain but fails to address the reliance on oil central heating in Northern Ireland.
68% of homes in Northern Ireland rely on oil central heating while a BEIS survey recently found that 5% of UK homes rely on oil.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“After a summer wasted on self-indulgent in-fighting rather than addressing the cost of living crisis threatening to devastate households across Northern Ireland, the British Government needs to get its act together now.
“Reports that Liz Truss is to back a plan to freeze electricity and gas prices may be warmly welcomed in Britain but it won’t mean much for thousands of households in Northern Ireland where oil central heating remains the primary home heating system.
“It is already deeply worrying that the £400 energy bill support scheme may not be paid to people here this side of Christmas because of needless delay from Westminster and the failure to re-establish an Executive. But people here can’t be left cold and hungry over the winter because of a failure of political leaders.
“We need a bespoke energy support scheme that recognises the unique supply issues in Northern Ireland as well as the implementation of a broader decarbonisation strategy to keep homes warmer. These challenges require intervention from Westminster alongside a functioning Executive. Political leaders have wasted too much time already, it’s time they got back to work now.”