COMMONS

Committee rounds off RHI payments inquiry with two final sessions

03 May 2019

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee takes evidence from legal experts on Tuesday and then on Wednesday questions top civil servants from NI's Department for the Economy on the decision to lower payments for the RHI scheme.

Witnesses

Tuesday 7 May in Committee Room 15, Palace of Westminster

At 3.15pm

  • George Peretz QC, Monckton Chambers
  • Sean Ennis, Director of the Centre for Competition Policy and Professor of Competition Policy at Norwich Business School

Witnesses

Wednesday 8 May in Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster

At 9.30am

  • Noel Lavery, Permanent Secretary, Department for the Economy
  • Richard Rodgers, Head of Energy, Department for the Economy
  • Jamie Warnock, RHI Task Force, Department for the Economy

Purpose of the sessions

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has been scrutinising the changes made to Renewable Heat Incentive payments, through legislation approved at Westminster last month, which could see participants in the scheme facing severe reductions in their payments. The Committee is inquiring into how the new payments have been affecting businesses, who signed up to the scheme in the expectation that payments would remain stable.

In the final week of the inquiry, the Committee will take evidence on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the first evidence session the Committee will consider the restrictions of State Aid, the processes that are followed in seeking approval and how State Aid might affect hardship support. The Committee will also question how the discrepancy between payments across Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland could affect sector competition.

In the final evidence session on Wednesday, three top civil servants from Northern Ireland's Department for the Economy, including the Permanent Secretary, will appear before the Committee to account for the Department's decision to lower the payment rate. The Committee will question the Department’s decision-making process, what alternative options were considered and the level of scrutiny afforded to the payment changes. 

Further information

Image: Pixabay

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