Can I ask a question about the RHI (renewable heat incentive)?
As I understand it, in return for investing £400 million the Northern Ireland taxpayer will receive another extra £700 million-odd from Westminster.
Why is this a bad deal for NI taxpayers?
It is surely common practice for InvestNI, for example, to provide some seed funding to attract investors into Northern Ireland and so how does this RHI differ?
I can understand why taxpayers in Britain might get exercised over handing almost a billion in extra funding to NI but why would we be concerned about that?
Let me put this into some perspective.
I worked for most of my life as a heating technician/engineer and for most of this time we in NI have had some of the most expensive energy costs in Europe.
But now this RHI scheme will provide many of our poultry farmers and other industrial sectors with some of the cheapest energy costs in Europe.
In return some 400 jobs in the sustainable energy sector will be protected for the next 20 years and in other key industrial sectors in NI.
Aren’t we just shooting ourselves in the foot by stopping this scheme?
And so the real question appears to be; why did we stop this scheme when it offered the prospects of drawing down substantial additional support from Westminster in return for a relatively small outlay from NI taxpayers?
Bernard J. Mulholland, Malone Road, Belfast BT9