The Commissioner for older people has welcomed the news that the NI Executive will provide an emergency one-off fuel payment of £200 to vulnerable people.

Since September, the Commissioner has been campaigning for Government to introduce a financial support package, similar to the £200 Covid-19 heating payment, which was made last year to people receiving certain benefits.

The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, said: “In the past few months, I have written to the Minister for Communities expressing my concern for the many people who are struggling to keep up with their utility bills and requesting an adequate financial support package to be implemented as soon as possible. I have also met with senior officials in the Department echoing that request and I have raised this issue with every political party in Northern Ireland. I am delighted that a £200 support payment is now coming to fruition.

“Today’s announcement will be very welcome news for many older people in Northern Ireland. This payment will be a relief to those who were genuinely unsure of how they would be able to heat their home in the coming weeks and months ahead.

“I would hope that the payments will be progressed as quickly as possible and, in the meantime, I continue to urge anyone who is worried to contact their energy supplier and enquire about what vulnerability schemes they are operating. It’s also important to ensure you are getting all the benefit and support you are entitled to by making use of the ‘Make the Call’ service on freephone 0800 232 1271.”