Executive to consider £55m scheme to help with home heating costs

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is to bring a proposed £55 million scheme aimed at helping people heat their homes to the Northern Ireland Executive for approval on Thursday.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 8:45 pm
The scheme would mean direct payments to hundreds of thousands of households, said Deirdre Hargey

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill confirmed that the scheme would be considered at the Executive in a video message posted on Twitter.

She said: “Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey will propose a scheme to the Executive tomorrow to help 280,000 people heat their homes.

“Today I met with the Utilities Regulator and Consumer Council on the need to reduce household energy costs.

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“People must be supported as the cost of living rises.”

Ms Hargey told the BBC: “I will be bringing to the Executive tomorrow a paper for an additional £55 million which will see a direct payment going to hundreds of thousands of households.”

It is the latest scheme from the Department of Communities aimed at helping those struggling with rising fuel costs.

A £2 million Emergency Fuel Payment Scheme, which aimed to benefit 20,000 families, opened on January 6.

However, applicants have reported problems in applying for the scheme, which is set at 333 applications per day.

In addition winter fuel payments have been made to more than 290,000 people in Northern Ireland.