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Northern Ireland Executive to discuss botched RHI 'cash for ash' scheme

The Executive will now discuss the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI) at Wednesday's meeting.

The UUP accused officials of a "head in the sand" approach after it emerged the controversy over the RHI was not on the formal agenda on Tuesday night, sparking fears it would be January before the matter would be discussed.

However, The Executive Office now says the matter will be discussed at its final meeting before Christmas.

It is likely the matter will be raised under 'any other business'.

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The RHI was meant to cut the cost of environmentally friendly energy to encourage people to move away from fossil fuels. Instead, it ended up landing ministers with an enormous overspend.

The scheme incentivised the installation of costly eco-friendly heating systems by paying a tariff per kilowatt of heat burned over a 20-year period. But unlike in the rest of the UK, no cap or tiered payment system was placed on the money that could be claimed.

The result was the RHI tariff paid out more than the cost of fuel needed to run boilers, meaning that the more fuel businesses burned, they more they earned in return.

Thousand of applicants signed up to the RHI in a deluge that ultimately forced its closure, but not before Stormont had been left with a huge future bill.

Overall, more than £1bn of public money will be paid by 2036 to Northern Ireland-based businesses that signed up to the scheme.

Approximately £400m of that figure will be covered by the Executive.

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