Energy Costs

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 18th October 2021.

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Photo of Claire Sugden Claire Sugden Independent 3:30 pm, 18th October 2021

T9. Ms Sugden asked the Minister of Finance whether he has received any bids or expressions of interest to support those who will be most affected by the expected rises in the costs of energy and other areas this winter. (AQT 1699/17-22)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

No. The Tories announced some Barnett consequentials at the start of their party conference to give some measure of support to people. I think that it is well short of what the Department for Communities provided last year. I am sure that the Minister for Communities is looking to see how she can provide assistance to those who would normally get support for winter heating and allowances.

There has been a substantial hike, particularly in the cost of gas. That will be challenging because that is a private-sector matter, but it will push more people into fuel poverty. The Executive will have to face those significant challenges. We have had the discussion about the universal credit uplift. We have all the challenges of ongoing opportunities or attempts to try to undo Tory policy by spending money that we would otherwise be spending on our own public services. That is the balance that we continually face.

Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP

That is the end of questions to the Minister of Finance. I ask Members to take their ease for a few moments before we move on to our next item of business.

(Mr Deputy Speaker [Mr McGlone] in the Chair)