Belfast Telegraph

RHI: Family of ex-DUP adviser Crawford stood to earn £6m windfall, book claims

Andrew Crawford, former special adviser to DUP leader Arlene Foster (RHI Inquiry/PA)
Andrew Crawford, former special adviser to DUP leader Arlene Foster (RHI Inquiry/PA)

The family of a former DUP special adviser Andrew Crawford stood to earn £6m from the installation of RHI boilers, it has been claimed

Mr Crawford served as a Spad to DUP leader Arlene Foster at the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment when the botched green energy scheme was introduced.

He resigned in January 2017 after he was named in Stormont's Public Accounts Committee as attempting to delay the introduction of cost controls- something which Mr Crawford has repeatedly denied.

The subsequent RHI Inquiry, set up to investigate how the costs of the scheme spiralled out of control, heard that 11 of the controversial boilers were installed by members of Mr Crawford's extended family.

However, a book on the scandal written by Newsletter political editor Sam McBride has revealed the potential multi-million pound windfall that Mr Crawford's family stood to make.

'Burned: The Inside Story of the Cash For Ash Scandal and Northern Ireland's Secretive New Elite' lifts the lid on the scandal, which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the assembly in January 2017.

It emerged during the public inquiry in 2018 that three of Mr Crawford's relatives, including his brother and two cousins, were involved in the scheme. The inquiry also revealed that Mr Crawford emailed his cousin Richard a confidential government document outlining planned RHI cost controls in 2015.

In an extract of the Mr McBride's book, published by the Irish News, the author calculates how much the RHI scheme would have been worth the the wider Crawford family.

“By the time RHI had been reined in – after what others alleged was Andrew Crawford’s attempts to delay that happening, something he denied – his relatives had 11 RHI boilers between them,” he writes.

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Writer Sam McBride with his new book at Stormont yesterday

“There has never been any suggestion that any of the Crawfords were fraudulently claiming or exploiting RHI. However, given that as poultry farmers they had a high heat demand, it was enormously beneficial to them.

“Assuming a 50 percent load factor common for poultry units – and much less than some poultry farmers were claiming for – the 11 boilers could have been expected to pull in more than £6 million between them.”

Mr Crawford has previously said he was not aware of how much money there was to be made through the scheme.

"Under prolonged and deeply sceptical questioning at the inquiry, Crawford repeatedly insisted that he had not been aware from his family of how lucrative RHI was and denied that the information he had sent his relatives had been financially beneficial to them," Mr McBride writes.

It is understood the findings of the RHI Inquiry are due to be published next month.

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