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The prevalence of alternative fuel usage in Northern Ireland has been given as the reason why households there will get a £200 additional support payment from the UK Government.

So Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil argues that his constituents are even more in need of the extra payment – given that most isles households are heated by oil.

Mr MacNeil is today (Monday 21 November) writing to the UK Chancellor demanding that all constituents in Na h-Eileanan an Iar receive the £200 additional support payment for households who are off-grid, as is the case in Northern Ireland. 

 The chancellor announced on Thursday that every household in Northern Ireland will receive the £200 payment, because so many are off the gas grid.

But 12% more of the population of Na h-Eileanan an Iar are off mains gas and, on this basis, Mr MacNeil is calling for the extra payment to be applied here.

Mr MacNeil said: “If the Chancellor can decide to pay all fuel customers in Northern Ireland, a population of 1.8m people, the £200 off-grid additional support, then in the interests of fairness and equality this must be applied to the people of Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

“This is particularly so as it was quite clear that the UK Government is struggling to work out when the money will be paid out.  When I challenged the Chancellor on Thursday, he simply couldn’t answer the question.   

“I will be writing to the Chancellor in these terms. The fuel poverty in the constituency should mean that any Chancellor who claims to be compassionate will respond positively to this request. 

“Any other response from him other than to pay the £200 across the constituency will make his rhetoric seem very hollow indeed.”