The UK Government’s energy price guarantee plan has again exposed the impact the lack of an Executive brings to Northern Ireland, Alliance MP Stephen Farry has said.
The North Down MP was speaking after Prime Minister Liz Truss unveiled details of support to businesses and consumers in Great Britain. However, that will not apply here due to a different energy market and system which is managed under devolved powers.
Dr Farry said the lack of an equivalent scheme or an Executive to disperse Barnett Consequentials in Northern Ireland meant people here would miss out.
“Whilst this scheme is far from perfect, people in GB will be somewhat reassured by the relief this may bring over the coming week,” he said.
“However, none of the measures announced today will automatically apply to Northern Ireland. The pressing concern for people here is what form equivalent support will take. We have a different energy system, with the majority of households using home heating oil in contrast to Great Britain.
“Today has truly exposed the impact no functioning Executive is having on Northern Ireland. As a result, once again people have been in uncertainty as to the help coming or otherwise, and the possibility of more millions in Barnett Consequentials unable to be accessed. This follows the similar fall-out of the £400 energy support scheme, which we are still awaiting clarity on regarding when it will take effect in Northern Ireland.
“It may well be that once again the UK Government has to intervene to provide equivalent support to the households and businesses in Northern Ireland. But any such intervention will have to be tailored to address the different governance and energy profile locally. Given the time taken to process even the £400 payments, this begs the question as to how long people here will have to wait, especially in the midst of an ever-growing energy cost crisis.
“I will be asking questions and lobbying the UK Government for swift action.”