Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi pledges to deliver energy bill discount in Northern Ireland
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has pledged that he will deliver an equivalent to the £400 energy bill discount in Northern Ireland.
Mr Zahawi is meeting the Utility Regulator and Stormont ministers in Belfast to discuss extending the UK-wide scheme to the north – which has been complicated by the lack of a functioning Stormont Assembly.
The Chancellor would also be visiting Scotland and Wales, but said he wanted to come to Northern Ireland first to make sure the British government delivered its commitment around the energy discount.
“My pledge is that we will operationalise this and deliver it because that is what the prime minister wants me to do, that is what I will do,” he said.
“Today is about making sure that I work with the Utility Regulator, with the economy and community ministers to make sure we now deliver against that, and do it as quickly and as efficiently as possible, so the meeting today is to make sure we get that done.
“I hope by the end of the meeting we’re in a place where we all know this will happen and it will happen as quickly as possible.”
Last month, the British government revealed details of the scheme in which households in Britain would get more than £60 off their energy bills each month throughout winter as part of its cost-of-living support measures.
The money, which is part of a package announced in May this year, will be delivered in six instalments over six months to some 29 million households.
Households will see £66 taken off their energy bills in October and November, and £67 between December and March, the government said.
But there has been uncertainty about how Northern Ireland households will receive the payment to help with energy costs.
The region is without a functioning executive or assembly as part of the DUP’s protest against the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.
Pressed on whether the energy discount would be delivered in Northern Ireland, Mr Zahawi said: “I will do everything in my power to make sure that we deliver the money, and hence why I’m here, and hence why we’re having these meetings.
“Of course I want to see the Executive restored and we will do everything to try and get to a place where it is restored, that is the best place for the people of Northern Ireland in my view.”