We need urgent clarification on the roll-out of energy support payments in Northern Ireland, says Armstrong

Alliance Strangford MLA Kellie Armstrong has called for urgent clarification on the roll-out of energy support payments in Northern Ireland, following a statement from the Utility Regulator indicating that the timing and delivery of the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme was still at this point unclear.

Kellie Armstrong Cost of Living energy bill support

This comes after the passing of Friday 28th October’s deadline to restore the Executive, which saw no Speaker appointed and the removal of caretaker ministers from their positions.

Kellie said: “This delay and lack of clarity surrounding the progression of energy support payment schemes here in Northern Ireland is gravely concerning. With no local devolved government there are very pertinent questions that are not being addressed, like who is managing the roll-out of both electricity and home heating oil support packages, how these packages will be delivered, and the exact timescales we are looking at for people actually receiving this assistance.

“Being well into winter now, the number of constituents contacting both mine and my colleagues’ offices about this is growing by the day. It’s clear how much stress this lack of communication is causing, particularly in more vulnerable households, such as families and those with older people.

“Now according to the Utility Regulator households in NI might even be without support payments until after Christmas. It’s just simply not good enough.

“This only further highlights how desperately we need institutional reform. We need to end this constant cycle of ransom politics and ensure going forward that no one party can single-handedly prevent our government from functioning, especially during times of crisis when people need it the most.”