Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Imperative that the energy bill support scheme is delivered promptly – Andy Allen [December 2022]

The press release issued by the Ulster Unionists on 19 December 2022.

East Belfast Ulster Unionist MLA and Communities spokesperson Andy Allen MBE has welcomed the update from Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps MP that Energy bills support for households in Northern Ireland is to commence from January 2023.

Mr Allen said:

“I cautiously welcome the update from the Business and Energy secretary that energy bill support for households in Northern Ireland is to commence from January 2023. However, for many this will be later than when it was most needed and I remain of the view that this much needed support could have been delivered weeks ago.

“Today’s announcement also raises a significant number of questions, therefore, I would call on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to promptly pull together a question and answer guide that may be able to provide further clarity for households.

“The scheme has also been likened to the high street voucher scheme previously run by the Department for the Economy, which we know presented challenges for many people when it came to providing identification. Many people still don’t have any form of ID, which may cause challenges for them to avail of the voucher support.

“Critically, as the support here is coming much later than it should have and unlike other regions of the United Kingdom there are no alternative packages of support from either the Departments for Communities, Economy or otherwise, the UK Government must ensure the £600 support is proactively delivered. Every passing day that it is not will result in households being pushed further into hardship.

“This short-term intervention is both welcome and much-needed, however, it cannot be a substitute for local intervention to tackle the root causes of poverty and a reliance on fossil fuels.”