Northern Ireland news

Treasury urged to review 'derisory' £100 home heating oil support

Finance Minister Conor Murphy
John Breslin

A UK government scheme covering the cost of £100 of heating oil must be reviewed urgently, Finance Minister Conor Murphy has written in a letter to the recently appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

It follows a meeting last Friday between Mr Murphy and Chris Philip MP, appointed earlier this month following the Conservative leadership election.

According to the minister, Mr Philip "indicated it would be unfair for anyone to be disproportionately impacted through the Energy Support announcements due to the type of fuel they use".

During the meeting, the minister said he "conveyed (his) disappointment at the chancellor’s failure to support those in need, help small businesses and provide additional funding for public services".

He told Mr Philip the £100 support was "inadequate" and "derisory" and will "not provide sufficient support for the 70 per cent of households here in the north who rely on oil to heat their homes".

"To try and progress this issue I have written to the chief secretary providing information on the average annual energy bills in the north.

"This information clearly demonstrates that oil users have experienced significant hikes over the last year. The Westminster government must act now to expand the home heating oil scheme to ensure the citizens here are not disadvantaged."

Mr Murphy also urged the Treasury "to look again at a reduction in VAT to help small businesses at this time of crisis, an uplift in welfare benefits to help vulnerable families, funding to enable continued delivery of public services, and a fair pay rise for public sector workers".


Northern Ireland news