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RHI furore: First Ministers call special Assembly sitting to discuss 'cash for ash' scandal

The First and deputy First Ministers have called for a special sitting of the Assembly to discuss the so-called 'Cash for Ash' scandal.

First Minister Arlene Foster has faced increasing pressure over the flawed scheme - estimated to cost the public purse in excess of £400million in overspent payments.

Following an Executive meeting on Wednesday, a statement said: "We have today asked the Speaker to convene a special sitting of the Assembly early next week to address issues surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive.

"This will facilitate a full statement to be made by the First Minister to Members on the matters of public concern relating to RHI.

"RHI was discussed by the Executive today and Ministers around the table underlined the seriousness of the issues involved and the importance of restoring public confidence.

"It was also emphasised that detailed plans are being finalised to significantly reduce the projected losses in the years ahead."

Following the statement the Assembly confirmed the sitting would take place on Monday, beginning at 10.30am.


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Timeline: How Renewable Heat Incentive unfolded

The Renewable Heating Incentive has been described as the “biggest financial scandal in the history of devolved government”.

Unlike a similar scheme in England, there was no cap on the payments meaning many businesses profited from the scheme.

Government officials as well as serving and former Executive ministers have faced mounting questions to explain how the scheme was allowed to be implemented in the manner it was.

The DUP had been at the centre of the storm as it was its members who oversaw the scheme. Now First Minister Arlene Foster was at the time the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment which introduced the scheme.

Questions have also been raised as to why a loophole which allowed unlimited payments was delayed from being closed after civil servants advised its shortcomings.

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