RHI Scheme: Closure

Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly am 2:30 pm ar 3 Mehefin 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Nicola Brogan Nicola Brogan Sinn Féin 2:30, 3 Mehefin 2024

T5. Miss Brogan asked the Minister for the Economy for an update on the closure of the renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme, as agreed as part of the New Decade, New Approach agreement. (AQT 335/22-27)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

I have been attempting to secure Executive agreement on the future of the RHI scheme since 4 April. However, to date, it has not been allowed on to the Executive agenda. That is delaying participants' receipt of an uplift in their tariff. It also puts at risk the orderly closure of the scheme, as Ofgem has provided a final termination notice. Ofgem will continue to administer delivery of the scheme only until its absolute backstop of 30 April 2026. I hope that the Executive are allowed to discuss and decide on those issues so that participants can receive appropriate payments and we can close the scheme in an orderly manner, in line with the agreed Executive priority.

Photo of Nicola Brogan Nicola Brogan Sinn Féin

Thank you, Minister, for that answer. In closing the scheme, will you ensure that participants are fairly compensated?

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

That is the plan. From the court rulings, there was a sense that the court wanted to ensure that people were treated fairly. Many people entered the scheme on the basis of a genuine attempt to avail themselves of a support that was there for them. We have to ensure that people are treated fairly, but we first have to get to a stage at which the Executive agree on what we are going to do about this. This is not a problem that I created; it is a problem that I inherited. I am trying to bring, as was agreed, some degree of closure to it. It is frustrating for me that we cannot even have a discussion of it in the Executive. I urge those who have been holding us up to allow the Executive to deal with the problem so that we can move on in line with the views of the court.