Ciara Ferguson asks Gordon Lyons to respond to rising cost of home heating fuels
Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson has raised the rising cost of energy - especially the increase in wholesale gas prices - with Economy Minister Gordon Lyons.
She asked the minister for his assessment of the rising cost of home heating at Stormont this week.
He replied: "As I have already said, I am very concerned about the increases that we have seen in the cost of energy. That has a direct implication for not only consumers and individuals in Northern Ireland but businesses. It affects the cost of doing business, and that is passed on to the consumer.
"I share the sentiments that have been expressed across the House about the impact that that will have on families and businesses right across Northern Ireland."
Ms. Ferguson asked: "How do the Minister and his Department intend to respond to the rising costs of fossil fuels, including oil, which many people here rely on to heat their homes, and the impact of the costs, which are passed on to people in their homes and/or businesses?"
The minister responded: "The Executive can respond in a number of ways. As I said to other Members, the Department for the Economy has responsibility for energy efficiency, and I want to make sure that we do all that we can for the population and for businesses to conserve our energy and be as efficient as possible.
"However, the responsibility for fuel poverty rests with the Department for Communities. When I was made aware of the increases in the costs of gas and electricity that were coming, I raised those issues directly at the Executive with the Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey. I look forward to seeing what proposals she can bring forward to help to alleviate the problem."