£200 energy payment to citizens, VAT holiday and windfall tax in SDLP cost of living plan

A new six point action plan to tackle the cost of living crisis, newly published by the SDLP, calls for a direct payment of £200 to all citizens, a one-year VAT holiday for energy bills and a windfall tax on energy companies.

The plan also calls for the Utility Regulator to cut the supply price control profit threshold for energy companies from 2 per cent, and for emergency legislation to allow £300m 'sitting in Stormont's bank accounts' to be spent.

It also proposes a free school meal payment scheme be relaunched and continued through the summer.

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SDLP Foyle Assembly candidate Sinéad McLaughlin said the plan, which calls for action from the incoming Assembly and Executive, the Utility Regulator, and the British Government would 'help struggling families get through this extremely difficult period'.

Sinéad McLaughlin
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She said: “People and families in Derry and across the North are being hit again and again by rising energy bills and fuel costs. Working people who are doing their best to provide a decent quality of life for their families should not be faced with a horrendous choice between heating their home and buying groceries.

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“It’s shameful that in this day and age so many families are living below the poverty line. We have the highest levels of poverty of anywhere on these islands and the levels of child poverty are particularly shameful. In 2022 we really shouldn’t be in a situation where children are going without basic necessities, but this is the reality for many families in the North."

The Assembly candidate said the collapse of the Executive has made addressing this crisis 'incredibly difficult'.

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“Our Cost of Living Action Plan will provide immediate assistance to people who are being hit by rising prices by offering an emergency payment to every household of £200 and an additional £100 to low income families.

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"This would be made possible by emergency legislation that would unlock the £300m sitting in Stormont bank accounts. It should shame the DUP that such a significant sum of money is lying dormant while people in our communities suffer the worst of this crisis.

"Our plan would also place responsibility on oil and gas suppliers that continue to post record incomes by capping their profits and introducing a new windfall tax to be used exclusively to provide emergency relief to households that need it.

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“Other parties want this election to be about the protocol or the personal position they hold in government. For us, it is about addressing the biggest domestic crisis facing people and households across our communities. We are relentlessly focused on putting people first and providing help in any way we can.”