MPs secure commitment on legislation assisting businesses in NI

DUP MPs Carla Lockhart and Ian Paisley have challenged Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg MP in the House of Commons, in relation to the level of support for households and businesses in Northern Ireland reliant on oil for heating. In response to their questioning, they received a commitment that legislation would be in place by the end of next month, backdated to take effect from 1st October. They both welcomed this but pressed for further detail.

By Carla Lockhart MP

Upper Bann

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Speaking after raising the matter in Westminster, Carla Lockhart said:

“Over two thirds of homes in Northern Ireland rely on oil for heating. Similarly, many small and medium sized businesses – the bedrock of our local economy – have similar reliance on heating oil. Many are in desperation for a helping hand to meet the cost of heating.

That the Government believe £100 is enough to help meet the additional cost burden of heating oil is nothing short of ludicrous. On today’s prices, this payment would not even purchase 100 litres. For many homes and businesses, particularly with larger, older, poorly insulated properties, this would not even be sufficient to provide heating for one month.

It is welcome that the Business Secretary has confirmed that legislation will be brought forward quickly. Whilst that action is welcomed, it must be accompanied by support which properly takes account of the situation faced by hard pressed households and businesses. We now need to see the detail of the legislation and its impact."

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley added:

“My colleague for Upper Bann rightly highlighted the inadequacy of the payment level, but of equal importance is the haste at which the Government act to deliver this support.

Under our questioning it was revealed that legislation would be needed to provide this support in Northern Ireland. He did however commit to bringing that legislation through by the end of October, and backdated to take effect from 1st October. He was left in no doubt of the urgent need for that legislation and his commitment is welcome.

The DUP both in Westminster and Stormont will continue to engage with the Government on this important issue.

We welcome the support from other MPs from across the House on the need to review the payment level and we will be working collaboratively with other MPs to exert maximum pressure on the Government to deliver for people in Northern Ireland, and indeed oil reliant households and businesses right across the UK.”

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