SOUTH Belfast MP Claire Hanna is working with a cross-party coalition of MPs to bring forward policies to ease cost of living pressures this winter and promote sustainable energy use. 

Working with members of the Green New Deal All Party Group, Ms Hanna supported a bill to create an Energy Equity Commission which would set out a Universal Basic Energy Allowance, to ensure the most vulnerable can meet their immediate heating needs, alongside graduated tariffs based on use and a retro-fitting strategy to make homes more energy efficient. 

Claire Hanna MP said: “People in South Belfast and elsewhere are genuinely worried about heating their homes this winter and alongside stop-gap solutions, it’s past time we took a long-term approach to protect the environment and people’s pockets. 

“This ambitious and future-proofing proposal is focused on ending the energy crisis rather than just delaying it for six months.

“SDLP MLAs have also brought forward interim proposals like the home-heating oil voucher scheme which would get immediate support to families in the absence of an alternative mechanism being brought forward by caretaker ministers.

“The Westminster bill also recognises the importance of home insulation in addressing energy costs and promoting energy efficiency through the retrofitting programme – this is something Stormont should have been advancing over the last decade, but our bill would release additional funding. 

“It is a really worrying time for people and businesses, with a chaotic Conservative Government and no devolution to pick up the slack.

"The lack of proactive steps are meaning more people will fall into fuel poverty and it is important that elected representatives use all the tools at their disposal to help.”