Energy support payment to be made ‘in full’ within six weeks: DUP MP

Households in Northern Ireland will receive a £400 energy support payment within the next six weeks, a DUP MP has said.

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson told the BBC that households here will receive the sum in full – compared to the rest of the UK where payments are made in six installments.

It means consumers in Northern Ireland will indeed be paid in full before the rest of the UK – but Sinn Fein’s finance secretary has denied the claim.

Last week it was announced that household gas and electricity bills in Northern Ireland would be capped from November, under the UK Government’s plans.

A cap is due to come into force in the UK from October, but the Government said households across Northern Ireland as a whole will get the same benefit from the retrospective support.

Heating oil customers receive a one-off payment of £100 to help with rising energy bills.

Mr Robinson said on Monday: “I believe the support will be available in Northern Ireland, it will be fully available before there is full UK distribution.”

He added: “The purpose of [the DUP] Being in Westminster and standing up for Northern Ireland means finding solutions for the people here.”

When asked if that would mean the payment would arrive before Christmas, he said “that’s my understanding” but he wouldn’t give a date.

In response to the comments, Treasury Secretary Conor Murphy said, “I hope he’s right, but I don’t get it.”

He added, “I have no evidence that that’s going to happen.”

Mr Murphy highlighted issues related to the lack of an executive branch and as a result said “the DUP is constantly in distraction mode”.

A previously announced government-funded reduction of £400 of Energy Bills Support against rising energy bills had caused confusion in Northern Ireland, where the market has its own regulator and does not have the energy price cap system in place in the rest of the UK.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Liz Truss laid out plans for an “energy price guarantee”, with a pledge to cap average household bills at £2,500 over the next two years. At the time, the Government acknowledged that a different approach would be needed in Northern Ireland but did not outline any specifics other than a pledge that a ‘similar’ level of support would be offered to people here.

Last week Foreign Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said the government was working to find a good solution to the “specific problem” of paying Britain’s energy support payments. Energy support payment to be made ‘in full’ within six weeks: DUP MP

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