Speaking after the Chancellor unveiled his Autumn Statement, Carla Lockhart said:
“The Government has listened on this issue and acted. However, what we still need is a definite date for the payment of energy support to households in Northern Ireland. These measures, though imperfect, are a reminder of the United Kingdom’s economic strength and its benefit to Northern Ireland households.
We have been in persistent engagement with the Government to express the view of my constituents that £100 simply was not enough. The cost of 900 litres has more than doubled in one year.
Over two-thirds of homes in Northern Ireland depend on oil for home heating. Many of these households are in fuel poverty already. Having to face the steep uplift in home heating oil prices whilst also facing inflationary pressures across a range of other household bills has proven extremely challenging. Homes are going without heat, or with a vastly reduced level of heat.
In this context, the uplift in support from £100 to £200 is better news and the expansion of this support to all households reflects the need to make urgent progress in getting support on the ground.
I raised this again with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy this week. I also spoke with the Minister of State today expressing my disappointment at no date, and the need for clarity for households in Northern Ireland. With Christmas fast approaching, families are budgeting for the seasonal financial pressures – knowing that this support is coming would alleviate significant worry.
We will keep working at Westminster on this issue.”