Energy payment could take 'many, many months' warns former Economy Minister Gordon Lyons

The former Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has told UTV the £600 energy payment could take 'many, many months' to be delivered in Northern Ireland.

On Wednesday the UK's Energy Minister Graham Stuart said he was aiming to rollout the money here in January.

It's after the UK Government announced it was considering the possibility of allowing people to cash out their £600, meaning people here could spend the money on other things.

Gordon Lyons said: "Because of the Government's dithering that's not going to happen, perhaps for many many months, because the new system that they are asking to be put in place will take months to implement."

He added: "We're back to square one."

The Larne MLA said he's annoyed that people here won't get support before Christmas.

"I'm also annoyed on behalf of those that have worked so hard... the utility regulator and the suppliers that have done so much to make sure the systems were in place.

"And at the last minute, the government have completely changed their position on how this is going to be given out to people. I think it's really poor form and I think it's time that they just got on with what had originally been planned because the systems are in place and this could be delivered right away."

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where people are still to receive the energy support payments.

That was to be a £400 payment for every household with another £100 going to those who use oil.

After claims of inequality, the government increased the oil pay out to £200.

The lack of a functioning Executive and the difference in the energy market to the rest of the UK have been blamed for the delay.

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