MLA seeks clarification about how and when discount will be delivered
Questions still remain over a £400 energy support payment due to go to households here to help with the cost of living crisis.
In May, the Government announced its Energy Bill Support Scheme which would provide a £400 energy bill discount for households across the UK from October.
Correspondence from the Treasury, seen by the Belfast Telegraph, states the Government is currently "urgently working to identify a route to deliver this as soon as possible".
When the scheme was announced, questions were raised about how the scheme would be delivered here in the absence of an Executive, something the Treasury has said would not be an obstacle.
Ulster Unionist communities spokesperson Andy Allen has written to the Treasury seeking clarity over the situation.
In response, Conservative MP Alan Mak, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: "The Government is aware that millions of households across the UK are struggling to make their income stretch to cover the rising cost of living. In May, the Government announced that it is providing over £15bn of additional support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need.
"This package builds on the over £22bn already in place, with Government support for the cost of living now totalling £37bn in 2022. It is right that the people of Northern Ireland should receive the equivalent of the Energy Bill Support Scheme support as announced on 26 May. The UK Government is urgently working to identify a route to deliver this support as soon as possible"
Mr Allen said it is vital households here receive the payment.
"From October all households in Great Britain with a domestic electricity connection will receive a £400 non-repayable grant as part of the UK Government’s cost of living support measures. However, due to there being no Northern Ireland Executive, it is unclear how households in Northern Ireland will receive this much-needed support," he said.
"On several occasions since the support was announced, I have sought clarity from the UK Government on how they intend to ensure, as advised by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, equivalent support is delivered to Northern Ireland.
"As payments from some of the other support measures start being received across the entirety of the United Kingdom, it is simply unacceptable that many of those who have yet to receive a penny of support remain in the dark as to whether the fate of this support lies solely with a restored NI Executive or in fact the Government have developed a mechanism to deliver. The latter is imperative in the absence of an Executive.
"I would therefore call on the Secretary of State to provide urgent clarification.
"If the Government hasn’t developed a way of delivering to Northern Ireland, he must intervene to ensure that households across Northern Ireland do not miss out on this vital support."
The news comes following the roll out of a means-tested cost of living payment, for which around 309,000 families here are eligible for.
Payments of £326 started being issued on July 14, with a further £324 payment due in the Autumn. The Department for Work and Pensions said some of the first payments may take until July 31 to come through.
Later this year, almost one in 10 people across the UK will get a £150 disability payment. More than eight million pensioner households will also receive an extra £300 through their Winter Fuel Payments in November and December.