£400 energy payment for Northern Ireland: DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson urges Business Secretary Grant Shapps to end uncertainty

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DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he met Mr Shapps on Wednesday after the utility regulator suggested payments might not be available until January.

Elsewhere in the UK, households are already receiving a range of payments under the scheme, but differences in the functioning of the energy market on this side of the Irish Sea have hampered the implementation of the scheme. government support.

Energy costs have skyrocketed since Russia invaded Ukraine

Speaking following his meeting with the Business Secretary, Sir Jeffrey said: “The cost of living crisis is impacting families in all corners of the UK, and it is vital that support of our UK Government benefits all these families equally.”

He continued: “Former Prime Minister [Liz Truss] was clear in its commitment that households in Northern Ireland would receive the £400 energy bill rebate in November. The current Prime Minister has also been very clear in his determination to ensure that the UK will support those in need during this crisis.

“Given the delay and the urgency, the £400 should also be paid in one installment rather than in instalments.”

He added: “I have urged the Business Secretary to put an end to this uncertainty and reassure households in Northern Ireland. As we approach increasingly dark and cold days, the need for energy support is increasing. We are already in the middle of this crisis and people need to have certainty when trying to prepare their family budget.”

The issue was also raised in the House of Commons by Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart on Wednesday.

In a statement, the DUP MP said: “Former Prime Minister Liz Truss made a clear commitment to the people of Northern Ireland that these payments would be made in November. It was also clarified that payment would be in one lump sum.

“In other parts of the UK this payment is being issued. It is inexcusable that the government is potentially backtracking on commitments to make this payment in a timely manner. The timetable set by the former Prime Minister must be implemented .”

Other parties also called for more clarity.

SDLP MP Sinead McLaughlin said she had written to the Chief Treasury Secretary asking for an urgent update.

In a statement, MP Foyle said: ‘People were counting on this money to help them get through the winter and were assured it would arrive this month.

“We need urgent clarity on this regime. People are at their wit’s end and now they are confused. Months of unrest and chaos in Westminster and dysfunction in Stormont are hampering all efforts to provide clear and consistent messaging about the support available to households. This lack of information even leads some of our voters to be exploited by dangerous scams.

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Elaine R. Knight