To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the proposal by Lord Duncan of Springbank on 19 March (HL Deb, col 1408) that the Department of the Economy Northern Ireland would establish a unit under independent chairmanship, to examine the case of every individual who has received funds from the Renewable Heat Incentive initiative and believes they have experienced hardship, whether that proposal has been implemented; if so, who has been appointed as chairman; what appointment criteria were applied to any such appointment; and whether the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland discussed this appointment with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of the Economy Northern Ireland.
17 May 2019
The Department for the Economy has undertaken to set up an RHI Hardship Unit. They repeated this commitment during their evidence session to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on 8th May. Given the complexities and skill-sets required, the Department is currently considering an independent panel rather than just an independent chair. As this is a devolved matter it will be for the Department for the Economy to set the necessary criteria, and ensure that the Hardship Unit is made up of suitably qualified and independent members. The Department plans for the panel to have its first sitting by the end of the summer.