£400 fuel payments clarity call by Derry & Strabane Council reps

Derry and Strabane Council have called for clarity on the £400 Energy Bills Discount Scheme and £100 Alternative Fuel Payment.

A proposal brought forward to the Governance and Strategic Planning Committee by SDLP councillor Rory Farrell calling on council to ask the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy when the two payments will be delivered, passed unanimously.

Colr. Farrell said: “Everyone is aware that the easiest way to address poverty is to put more money in people’s pockets and people right across Derry and Strabane are acutely aware of the rumoured £400 Energy Bills Discount Scheme and the £100 payment for households that use oil.

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“The former Prime Minister Liz Truss made a promise that this was going to be delivered in November, it’s now November and no payments have been made. In fact there have been no details about either of these schemes at all. People need this support and they need clarity on when this support is going to be rolled out.”

Protesters who attended a previous Derry Against Fuel Poverty march and rally. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2239GS – 100

Acknowledging the proposal will have to be ratified at full council on November 24, the Ballyarnett councillor added: “If there is good news between now and full council we can withdraw it and no letter needs to be sent.

"This is important, people need to know that they are going to get this money because it has been promised, people have budgeted for this and the support isn’t there. We need to know and we as a council need to be leading the charge on this.”

Agreeing with the sentiments, People Before Profit Councillor Shaun Harkin commented: “It is very frustrating that there is the lack of clarity for people right across the North in terms of getting help from Westminster for their energy costs.

“I do agree and I’m all for sending strong letters outlining this council’s frustration and demands to government ministers and we should do that now.

SDLP Councillor Rory Farrell.

“I also think that while we do that it’s not going to be the way we get clarity. The £400 needs to be paid as soon as possible but we need a lot more.

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“There is no Stormont to look to so I think the key thing we need to do now is focus on mass mobilisations so that government are forced to do things right now that they refuse to do.”

Councillor Farrell’s proposal that the Council write to the government in London passed unanimously.

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter