Chancellor to ensure Northern Ireland receives share of £15bn cost-of-living support fund

Chancellor Rishi Sunak's help plan will include Northern Ireland

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to legislate for Northern Ireland to receive a share of £15billion to help deal with the cost of living crisis.

Announcing a raft of measures in the Commons, the chancellor said: "This is a significant set of interventions to support the most vulnerable in our country.

"We will legislate to deliver this support on the same terms in every part of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. Taken together, our direct cash payments will help one third of all UK households with cost of living support worth £9 billion."

The Treasury has confirmed the most vulnerable households in Northern Ireland will get support up to £1,000.

Mr Sunak, in a statement added: “I know that people in Northern Ireland are feeling the anxiety of rising bills.

"We are introducing a package of measures directly from the UK Government to help with the cost of living that will support the most vulnerable households in Northern Ireland by up to £1,000. “To help pay for this, we are going to introduce a temporary, targeted levy on the windfall profits the oil and gas sector is seeing due to exceptionally high oil and gas prices while still encouraging the investment that creates jobs.” Among a package of measures announced in the Commons, Mr Sunak confirmed a £400 payment for all homes to help with energy costs.

Some eight million of the lowest income households will be sent a one-off payment of £650.

He also announced a payment for those on disability benefits of £150, another £300 for pensioners.

In his statement to the Commons on Thursday, he said some households entitled to a number of payments would get around £1,200 of support.

The UK Government has said the £400 energy support payment will apply directly to homes in England, Scotland and Wales with the equivalent delivered for people in NI.

It remains unclear how the support will be administered for Northern Ireland given the Stormont deadlock.

The current Stormont impasse has meant a £300m support fund has been unable to be handed out.

Mr Sunak also confirmed a temporary windfall tax on oil and gas giants but said it would include a "new investment allowance" to incentivise the reinvestment of profits.

The Chancellor said the new levy would raise around £5bn over the next year.

"The oil and gas sector is making extraordinary profits not as the result of recent changes to risk taking or innovation or or efficiency as the result of surging global commodity prices driven in part by Russia's war,” Mr Sunak said.

"For that reason I am sympathetic to the argument to tax those profits fairly."

Mr Sunak also said: "It is possible to both tax extraordinary profits fairly and incentivise investment."

He said he recognised that with any policy "there may be small numbers of people who will fall between the cracks", giving people on housing benefit who are not also claiming other benefits as a possible example.

He said to support them and others "we will extend the household support fund delivered by local authorities by half a billion pounds from October".