Every household in the Western Isles should get the £200 alternative fuel payment, says isles MP Angus MacNeil today (Thursday 8 December), after he held conversations with Graham Stuart MP, the UK government climate and energy minister.
Mr MacNeil says he ‘remains optimistic’ that the payment will be made to all households in Na h-Eileanan an Iar to support the cost of fuels such as heating oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), coal or biomass.
The UK government had previously said announced that only ‘eligible households’ would receive the £200 payment, but that this would include all households in Northern Ireland, due to the widespread use of alternative fuel in that area.
That led Mr MacNeil to point out that the use of alternative fuels is a lot higher in Na h-Eileanan an Iar than in Northern Ireland so that, in the spirit of fairness, all households in Na h-Eileanan an Iar should also receive this support.
Mr MacNeil said today: “I have been campaigning on this for a while now and raised it with the Prime Minister a few weeks ago.
“We know that fuel is more expensive, fuel poverty is higher and 88% of households in the Hebrides are off-grid and use alternative fuels compared to 76% in Northern Ireland.
“Nothing is guaranteed yet, but I remain optimistic, after speaking twice with BEIS minister Graham Stuart, that if all households in Northern Ireland are getting £200 then all households in Na h-Eileanan an Iar will get this money too.
“I have made the case. The minister, to his credit, seems to be very fair and clearly understands the issue and the geographically distinct reality of the islands, so now it is a case of waiting for full confirmation that this will happen.”