SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has urged the UK Government to provide proper support to families in Northern Ireland who rely on home heating oil.
She was speaking ahead of a mini-budget From Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng in the House of Commons on Friday.
Ms Hanna said the proposed £100 support would make little difference for families facing fuel poverty and reiterated the SDLP’s plan to implement a voucher scheme to provide 1000l in home heating oil to households.
South Belfast MP Ms Hanna said:
“At a time when there is genuine fear in our communities about how people will be able to afford heating this winter, there is a duty on us to show political leadership and do everything within our power to support people through this crisis. The proposed £100 support from the UK government is derisory and shows a complete lack of acknowledgement of the situation families are facing.
“The SDLP has a plan that will see every household who needs it get 1000l of free home heating oil. That will allow us to weather this storm and keep everyone in our community, from children to pensioners, safe and healthy over the next few months while we work to put long-term measures in place to ensure we never end up in a position where the public are left at the mercy of huge energy firms.
“Action must also be taken now to ensure that we do not face an ongoing, destructive cost of living crisis every autumn and winter. This is why I have joined MPs from other parties to call on the Chancellor to urgently invest in home insulation measures, a commensurate windfall tax and end of the investment allowances in Energy Profits Levy and the exploration of the possibility of a Universal Basic Energy Allowance. We also must urgently increase the supply of clean, home-grown renewable energy such as solar, onshore and offshore wind which are now nine times cheaper than gas.
“This episode underlines why we would be better served with local Ministers taking decisions at Stormont on behalf of people in Northern Ireland. The British government have repeatedly failed people in Northern Ireland and the SDLP will keep fighting at Westminster to ensure our communities get the same support as the rest of the UK.”