NI Affairs Committee to examine RHI cuts

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A Westminster committee is to hold an inquiry into swinging cuts to RHI payments to boiler owners.

The NI Affairs Committee probe follows concerns that not enough time was given to scrutinise the revised payments, with the legislation being fast-tracked through Parliament.

The cuts would slash subsidies for the most common type of boiler by up to 96% – from around £13,000 to £2,000.

Some boiler owners have expressed concern that the reduced tariffs could prove ruinous for many businesses in NI who joined the scheme in good faith.

In light of the concerns around the new payments, the committee has launched “a focused inquiry” into the matter.

It has written to Sir Patrick Coghlin, chair of the independent RHI inquiry, to advise of the scope of this inquiry.

Chair of the committee, Dr Andrew Murrison MP said: “Businesses across Northern Ireland have structured their finances on the very reasonable assumption that RHI payments were copper-bottomed. While the RHI scheme can hardly be regarded as a wholly successful policy, righting its wrongs requires proper scrutiny.

“My committee will be looking at the Government’s hurried revision of the tariff rates to make sure they are fit for purpose and good for Northern Ireland’s businesses.”