New Fuel poverty group is essential as we face cost of living crisis, says Mathison

Alliance MLA Nick Mathison has welcomed the new Fuel Poverty Emergency Response Group, adding he was encouraged to hear energy suppliers engaging with proposals to help consumers in any way possible as we face an extremely difficult winter ahead.

Nick Mathison

Nick was speaking after he attended the first meeting, alongside other parties, representatives from the gas, electricity and oil supply sector, as well as the Utility Regulator, Consumer Council and Advice NI.

He added: “This group is urgent and a necessity as we face an unprecedented cost of living crisis.

“However, there is only so much that that the local energy suppliers can do, and government intervention is key. With the expectation that Liz Truss will announce significant policies to aid people this winter as early as tomorrow, it remains unclear how and when this support will be compliant with our system in Northern Ireland.

“Alliance has been clear, an Executive will not be able to solve everything, but with no Executive we will be able to deliver nothing for the people of Northern Ireland. Our market is very different to that of the rest of Great Britain and a lot of work is required to ensure any response from the Prime Minister is also workable here.

“An Executive will be able to deliver on this. The DUP needs to recognise the impact its political games is having on local people.

“I was glad to be at today’s meeting and it was great to hear a unified approach start to form in how debt should and could be managed for customers and the possibility of establishing a hardship fund for those in crisis.

“All fantastic ideas, and I hope to see progress on them soon. Even more pressing is the formation of an Executive to ensure the delivery of emergency assistance that works for NI."