The £600 Energy Payment Scheme

Most of the details of the £600 Energy Payment Scheme, and how it will work, have been announced, finally.

The Details:

  • The electricity supplier you are with on with on 2 January will be responsible for distributing the £600 energy support payment.
  • There is no precise date for receipt of the payment, yet, but they could begin by the second week in January, providing the scheme goes according to plan.
  • The scheme will end on the 30 of June 2023.
  • The £600 is being made available to help with energy bills but can be used as people see fit.

How you will get the £600

Direct debit electricity customers will have the £600 payment paid directly into their bank accounts.

People paying quarterly or using a pre-payment meter will receive a voucher in the post. The voucher can be redeemed for cash or paid into a bank account.

The voucher will be valid until until 31 March.

This means that vouchers must be cashed by then unless they are lost or damaged, in which case replacements will be issued up to 31 March with a final expiry date of 30 June.

For further information, advice and support on the Cost of Living and the Energy Payment Scheme follow the links below:

NI Direct Website:

Cold Weather Payments:

Advice NI:

Age NI:

SVPSociety of St. Vincent de Paul:

Salvation Army: Debt Advice and Assistance:

For the full, detailed Energy Payment document click the link: ebss-ni-direction

Held Back and Dragged Back

It is now well over fifty years since citizens in Northern Ireland took to the streets demanding change, a better, fairer and more accountable society and civil rights for all.

We are now approaching the twenty fifth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, signed at the end of over thirty years of murder, bloodshed and terror.

Today, we have families that cannot afford to heat their homes, children going hungry, queues at foodbanks, part time, precarious employment and a culture of zero hours contracts. We have working people depending on benefits to top up their wages, thousands of workers on picket lines in defence of jobs, services, pay and conditions, and we have large companies and corporations posting the most obscene levels of profits and making huge payouts to their shareholders.

Yet we continue to elect, in large and increasing numbers, political parties whose response to these crises is to sustain  and develop existing divisions, promote culture and identity wars, build on their tribal bases and all the while support the very social and economic system that lies at the heart of all our problems.

In sixty years we have gone backwards. We have been dragged backwards, firstly by armed gangs on our streets and violently competing nationalisms, British and Irish, now by political nationalisms, British and Irish that sees flags, community identity, language and symbolism as more important that the lives and prospects of working class people. We are not in that camp.

The coming year will be a telling one in the battle for the dignity of working people, the preservation of our public services and the advancement of the socialist alternative. We are up for that challenge.

Striking Workers not to Blame

With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refusing point blank to even discuss nurses’ pay claims and the Department of Health’s Permanent Secretary claiming ‘catastrophic consequences’ if there are more days of industrial action there are concerted efforts to blame nurses and other workers for the rise in inflation the cost of living crisis and the difficulties faced by the NHS.

Nurses aren’t responsible for unsafe staffing levels, nor are workers’ wages responsible for inflation. The absence of an Executive is Stormont isn’t helping but the NHS has been in serious trouble for years from decades of underfunding, cut backs, privatisation and, quite frankly, poor workforce planning and mis management at Departmental level.

As well as nursing staff, ambulance workers, customs and immigration staff, bus drivers and postal workers are all taking industrial action this month. They have been forced to take to the picket lines in defence of jobs, public services and pay and conditions.

Working people cannot and must not be demonised and scapegoated for the failings of a capitalist system which rewards the wealthy by exploiting and penalising those who produce the wealth, deliver the services and keep our society functioning.

This is a struggle working people cannot afford to lose.

18 letters to Northern Ireland MPs

As speculation mounts that the Tory government is planning to introduce yet more restrictive anti-trade union legislation, including withdrawing the right of workers to take industrial action, it seems clear that an all-out assault on workers’ rights is in the offing.

In times of rampant income inequality, falling pay, precarious and exploitative working practices, job insecurity and continuing attacks on trade unions, it is all the more important that workers’ rights are protected.

The right to strike is a fundamental democratic right that must be protected and defended.

Workers only ever go on strike as an absolute last resort. Strikes happen where workers feel strongly that they are still being unfairly treated and not listened to – strongly enough to go without pay while on strike.

The Workers Party has written to each of Northern Ireland’s eighteen MPs, including Sinn Fein MPs who do not take their seats, asking them to declare whether they would vote against any anti-worker legislation if it comes before the Westminster Parliament.

Every major improvement in workers’ pay, conditions and safety has had to be secured through industrial action.

The 5-day week, equal pay, the minimum wage, increases in holiday entitlements, parental leave and improvements in health and safety at work have all been secured though organised labour and industrial action.

We will publish the responses and record any non-responses in the coming weeks.

Campaign Against Cuts to BBC Radio Foyle

The National Union of Journalists( NUJ) is campaigning against the cuts to BBC Radio Foyle and is appealing for support for its petition and public meeting on January 4th next year.

See the links below for further details of the campaign website, petition and meeting information.


Campaign Website:

Petition link

Eventbrite link

Save BBC Radio Foyle: NUJ public meeting Join us at a public meeting hosted by Derry and North West NUJ branch on 4 January, to oppose proposed cuts at BBC Radio Foyle.

Supporting Striking Healthcare Workers

Nursing staff in Northern Ireland, Wales and England took to the pickets lines this morning in defence of safe staffing levels and a fair pay settlement. Workers Party members joined them at several locations to demonstrate solidarity and support .

The Director of the Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland , Rita Devlin, explained the background to today’s action,

“Nurses in Northern Ireland have today spoken loudly and clearly to tell our politicians that we can no longer tolerate the unacceptable and at times unsafe conditions that nursing staff are putting up with, day in day out. This is not a decision that has been taken lightly but it is clear that our members feel they have no other choice but to take action on behalf of their patients”.

This is only the second time in their history that nurses in Northern Ireland have gone on strike. Today they joined the thousands of workers across the public and the private sectors who have been forced to form picket lines at their places of work in the fight for above inflation wage increases. pension rights, job security, conditions of employment and in defence of safe public services.

No one wants to be on strike, but they have been left with no option other than to engage in industrial action.

There is too much at stake to passively accept the erosion of our public services, The implications for the quality of life for thousands of families, and of future generations, are too far reaching not to exert all the pressure possible in support of working people.

They deserve our full support and solidarity.

‘Tis the Season: domestic abuse at Christmas and New Year

Incidents of domestic abuse increase sharply at this time of year. Between Christmas Day and Boxing Day last year the PSNI received 245 domestic abuse calls. Between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day a further 275 incidents were recorded.

Year on year, there are around 30,000 recorded incidents of domestic abuse and on average a woman in an abusive relationship is murdered here every other month.

Yet Northern Ireland remains the only part of the UK without a specific strategy to protect women and girls from violence. While several pieces of uncoordinated legislation have been introduced in recent years and initiatives such as ‘Ask for Angela’have been adopted, there is still no overall strategy to protect women and girls from violence.

Recent arrests operations of suspects wanted on bench warrants in connection with
domestic abuse and for breaches of protective orders, are not enough. The
system is failing women.

Legislation alone, vital as it is, will not be enough to overcome a culture which sees women and girls as objects and commodities and tolerates misogyny and prejudicial gender-based attitudes.

Nor will it be overcome for as long as we are subject to an economic and social system which has an intrinsic self interest in sustaining and perpetuating gender discrimination in its pursuit of profits, lower wages and working-class division.

Violence against women and girls takes many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, child, early and forced marriage, trafficking, and increasingly online through cyber bullying.

There is never a time of year when domestic abuse should ever be tolerated. If you or someone you know is suffering abuse or violence, help and support is available.

Follow the link for Contact Numbers, Help and Advice

‘Invest in Young People’

Youth Services across Belfast are facing budget cuts so severe that many projects, schemes and life changing initiatives will no longer be available. #youthwork

The Education Authority which provides financial help for youth clubs is planning cuts in excess of 30% to its funding of local youth clubs and schemes which support young people across the city.y representative Patrick Crossan has condemned the proposed cuts as “damaging, detrimental and dangerous.”

He has also criticised the Education Authority and the Department of Education for their lack of consultation and discussion on the matter and for the way in which youth clubs and other services were informed of their intentions.

Patrick Crossan

“I am aware that in the case of one youth club in the Lower Falls area, they expect to see their funding from the Education Authority slashed by over 30% next year,” Patrick said.

“The harsh reality is that jobs will be lost, staff to young people ratios will be reduced meaning that many services will no longer be available”.

“Many people will be unaware of the tremendous and life changing work provided by local youth clubs. Youth workers, and the services they provide, help to reduce crime in local areas, engage young people in training and educational opportunities, help steer young people away from drugs and other addictions, provide a safe and nurturing environment and even assist in increasing the number of young people from socially disadvantaged areas going on to university and other third level courses”, Patrick said.

“These are vital, community based, support services for our young people – and, given the counselling and support role of local youth services, in many cases they can also be literally lifesaving”. Patrick added.

Senior Youth Worker, Stephen Hughes, discussing the proposed cuts with the Workers Party’s Joanne Lowry

“Vital programmes delivered between local youth clubs which have been successful in reducing violence at interface areas will now also be at risk”. Patrick pointed out.

On behalf of the Workers Party, I have contacted the Chief Executive of the Education Authority asking that her Board meets in emergency session to re-appraise the funding proposals, engage with local youth services and to urgently impress upon the Department of Education the need for the full funding of youth services”.

“At a time of crisis in the cost of living, increasing social deprivation, growing alienation amongst young people and a serious escalation in the incidence of teenage mental health problems, we need to invest, and invest significantly in young people, the services and support that they need and the organisations and groups that help to provide it,” Patrick concluded.