Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017

Part of Executive Committee Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 23rd January 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Trevor Lunn Trevor Lunn Alliance 3:30 pm, 23rd January 2017

Yes, I share that concern. The whole thing has been hastily conceived and put together, in some ways necessarily so because we will all be redundant after Wednesday — except for the Minister, of course. Be that as it may, rushed laws and decisions are not necessarily good ones. We will have to see where this goes.

One legal issue is that this could be challenged because of the lack of consultation. Mr Lyons took me to task earlier — he is not here now — in a very gentlemanly way for suggesting that we should have had a consultation. Of course, given the current timescale, we cannot consult because we will not be here. If we had dealt with the problem at any of the points in time when it arose, we would have had plenty of time for a consultation. I am thinking back to November 2015 and July 2015; I will come back to that date in a wee while.

How did we get to this point? Various experts had input into the formation and gestation of the scheme. There were so many expert authorities, starting off with Cambridge Economic Policy Associates. There was also Ofgem and all the input of the Civil Service, the Executive, the energy experts in the Department — I gather that that is going to be renamed the energy unit or something, but I presume that it will be the same personnel — and, of course, the Enterprise Committee, on which, for the record, Alliance did not have a seat at the time. So it goes on. How could all those people look at the scheme and not see the potential flaws, given the experience of the GB scheme? Cambridge Economic Policy Associates admitted freely that it made a bit of a mistake, to put it mildly, right at the start. What we have here is a considerable mess. One Member a wee while ago indicated that my party leader would not have many chickens in her constituency, but she can recognise a cock-up. That is what this is. It is beyond belief that we can get to this point.