Households in Northern Ireland will receive £400 energy support payment despite no executive, says Treasury MP

Money the UK government is providing to help with the cost of living crisis will flow to households in Northern Ireland despite the absence of an executive in Stormont.

So says Chief Treasury Secretary MP Simon Clarke, who said he wanted to “reassure” people here.

This follows the Chancellor’s announcement last week that millions of households across the UK would receive additional financial support to help them cope with rising energy bills, including a one-off payment of £650 to low income or social security and a payment of £400. Discount on the energy bill in October.

However, Finance Minister Conor Murphy has previously said the lack of an executive in Northern Ireland will pose challenges for the region’s household reduction to be introduced.

Writing in the bulletin, Mr Clarke said the government was ‘working urgently’ to ensure the money, or what he described as the ‘equivalent’, could be delivered to people in Northern Ireland .

“The strength of the union as we came together enabled us to overcome the challenges of the past two years, and we will not let that spirit of support and determination fail now,” he wrote in the newspaper.

“I want to reassure the people of Northern Ireland that you will receive your share of additional support, despite the absence of an executive in Stormont.”

On Sunday, Sinn Fein’s Deirdre Hargey said a means-tested one-time payment of up to £650 could be issued over the summer based on data already held for benefit recipients.

It comes after a failed second attempt to elect a speaker at Stormont on Monday.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s DUP party has so far blocked the election of the President and the formation of an Executive following the Assembly elections as part of its protest against the NI Protocol.

On Tuesday, Ulster Unionist Party deputy leader Robbie Butler told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster that his party was urging the parties to hold talks on a program for government despite there being no movement on protocol.

“We can now set the stage for when the protocol is settled,” he said.

“What we can do is we can multitask. What we have to do is prepare these strategies so that when the wheels touch the track [on the protocol] we are ready to go.

“We called for these talks. We have to sit around the table to decide what we are going to do when the executive is formed. And if we do, that means when the solution for the protocol arrives… we’ll be good to go.

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Elaine R. Knight