Gas and electricity price hikes to kick in

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The Stormont communities minister has said her department will do “all it can” to help with the cost-of-living crisis, ahead of further electricity and gas price increases due to come into effect within days.

A series of energy companies have announced price hikes for Northern Ireland customers that kick in at the start of next month.

Firmus Energy is due to hike its prices by 56.3% from Monday for customers in both the Greater Belfast and the ‘ten towns’ areas of Northern Ireland.

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SSE Airtricity is raising prices for both its electricity and gas customers – by 35.4% and 28.3% respectively – from October 1.

Energy price hikesEnergy price hikes
Energy price hikes

Click Energy, the smallest of the five electricity suppliers in Northern Ireland, has also announced it will be increasing electricity prices by 28.2% from Saturday.

And Electric Ireland, the third largest supplier, is hiking prices by 29% from the same date.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, in a statement, said: “In a matter of days thousands of households here, which are already in crisis, will be faced with yet another increase in energy prices.

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“As I continue with my engagement with groups and organisations on the ground I am hearing a consistent story of many households with vulnerable people including those with disabilities, pensioners and children, affected by impossible choices around the basic essentials of light, heat and a warm meal.”

She continued: “I am determined that my department will continue to do all it can to help those in need with our ongoing schemes like Affordable Warmth, Make the Call, Social Supermarkets.”

Health Minister Robin Swann, meanwhile, has said he will increase the bursary paid to some student nurses to help them cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

Means-tested elements of bursary support for nursing and midwifery students are to be increased by 15% for the 2022/23 academic year, Mr Swann’s department said.

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Mileage allowance for students on clinical placement will also be increased by 5%, a spokesperson said.

“These moves are an effort to alleviate the impact of the current cost-of-living crisis on students on commissioned healthcare programmes,” Mr Swann said.