Eastwood: Truss energy plan leaves local households out in the cold

colum eastwood cost of living Energy bills oil heating

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said that British Government proposals to freeze gas and electricity prices for consumers and businesses fail to recognise the unique supply challenges in Northern Ireland where oil remains the dominant form of domestic central heating.

Speaking as Liz Truss formally became Prime Minister today, the SDLP Leader said that an energy support strategy prioritising the British market would leave households in the North out in the cold.

Colum Eastwood MP said:

“The British Government’s plan to freeze gas and electricity prices funded through additional general taxation is a perversion of the support that should be offered to households struggling to make ends meet. Rather than safeguarding energy company profits against the public purse, the government should be expanding windfall taxes on those making the most obscene profits.

“The hard truth for working families and vulnerable households in Northern Ireland is that this mooted support wont make one blind bit of difference to them. These proposals offer no support to 68% of households here who rely on oil central heating, a largely unregulated market in the North, and the reason is because the parallel market in Britain is only 5% of households. Prioritising the needs of people in England over people in Northern Ireland is an astounding abdication of responsibility that we won’t stand for.

“This is why we need devolved government back. We need Ministers at Stormont taking decision in the interests of the people we represent.”

Commenting on further price increases announced by Firmus today, the SDLP Leader said:

“There is no way to dress up the fact that price increases at this scale are unaffordable. Working families and vulnerable households simply will not be able to pay for their energy needs. It is immoral that we have reached this point.

“It is a damning indictment of political leadership in London and at Stormont that since May’s election there has been no new scheme, no new money and no new support to get people through this crisis. People deserve better than failure after failure.”

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