13/01/2017 BBC Newsline


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The BBC has learned that auditors have suspended payments to over half


the boiler owners they have inspected so far.


Ofgem said of the 63 they'd looked at, subsidy payments had


It's also emerged that the Department for the Economy


is declining to disclose information about participants of the scheme


despite previously saying it would be "freely available".


Our Agriculture and Environment Correspondent


From the start, extensive information on each RHI


installation was meant to be available for anyone.


It included the location, the time it was installed and how


It included the location, the type installed and how


Crucially, the information would also include the date


the business joined the scheme and how much subsidy had been paid.


All of this, they said, would be available to the general


We asked the Department for all that information a month ago


and despite repeated requests, it has still not provided it nor has


Boiler owners were told when they signed up to the scheme


that they consented to the publication


There's a huge amount of interest out there.


Some boiler owners have said naming would start a witchhunt.


If the information was to be published, it would lead


to the identification of those who got into the scheme giving


the spike in November 2015 before the subsidy changed.


It was that spike that effectively burst the budget.


Hundreds of those RHI recipients have now objected in writing to any


It may create a problem for the authorities.


Under the data protection act they might have to review


any decision to follow through on the economy minister's


intention to put their names out there and right back within 21 days


intention to put their names out there and write back within 21 days


to see if they are going ahead with it.


It pushes a list of names further down the pipe.


But new figures from inspectors may create an unstoppable


Ofgem said today out of 63 boilers they had inspected they had


suspended payments to 33 of them pending investigations.


Fifa have since been reinstated. They said none of them had been


permanently excluded. Reasons given by boiler owners


for non-publication are fears of adverse publicity,


loss of business and health grounds. Officials will have to decide


if that trumps the public interest. A plan to cut the costs associated


with the Renewable Heat scheme The Economy Minister Simon Hamilton


has tabled legislation which would cut subsidies paid


to around 1,800 people who got into the scheme


before November 2015. Here's our Political


Editor Mark Devenport. This is Simon Hamilton's plan to cut


the potential losses of the controversial renewable heating


scheme. The idea is to lower the tariffs so that 1800 users who are


getting higher payments instead get lower payments in the future. This


is the scheme that the finance minister Mairtin O'Muilleoir said he


would look at and scrutinise in a nonpolitical way, but he hasn't yet


passed it. As we understand it, the DUP has gone directly to the


Assembly's business committee. The Sinn Fein representatives on the


committee didn't object to it being added to Monday's business, the


reason being that apparently there weren't any Sinn Fein


representatives there, a sign that they are no longer participating in


Assembly committees. Apart from the heating regulations, the Bedroom Tax


will also be under discussion by MLAs on Monday and there is a plan


to mitigate that and it has also been added to the order paper. The


Speaker at Stormont in ??DELETE has written to MLA's to explain why he


allowed Arlen Foster to address the Assembly on the RHI last month. The


opposition staged a walk-out when she made a statement without the


approval of Martin McGuinness. Mr Newton faces a motion of no


confidence when the Assembly returns. In the later this evening,


he denies allegations of party political motivation and says he


takes the impartiality of his role extremely seriously.


The Health minister Michelle O'Neill had planned to make public


a strategy to tackle waiting lists this month but without an Executive,


it was thought the budget could not be approved.


Earlier this evening, she told BBC Newsline


she still intends to publish the plan and has had talks


with the Finance Minister to push ahead with it.


Because of the current crisis of confidence in the institutions


I said we're going to be in a difficult position


to overarching budgets for all other Government departments.


I'm still waiting to publish the plan.


As far as health is concerned, you're good to go with this plan


and you believe you have the money and agreement from


I absolutely can assure the public that I am doing absolutely


everything I can and I will publish an elective care plan but


I'm not waiting to publish the plan to take action.


A plan to charge families for school transport which is currently free


is part of a package of money-saving measures being considered


The authority needs to make substantial cuts to its budget.


Our Education Correspondent Robbie Meredith has this exclusive story.


Around 90,000 pupils - like these at Devenish College


in Enniskillen - get free bus passes to get


If they live more than three miles away from their post-primary school


or two miles from their primary school, the Education Authority


But meeting that bill costs the EA ?72 million a year.


And they've got to find around ?100 million in savings by next year.


The BBC understands that a yearly fee for school transport


of between ?50 and ?200 per pupil is one of the measures


A similar scheme operates in the Republic of Ireland.


There, families pay 100 euro for each primary child and 350 Euro


for each post-primary child, with a maximum yearly


Two thirds of Devenish College's 480 pupils currently


There will be clear evidence that many families are already struggling


so to add an additional burden on to those families,


especially if the charge was applied at the start of September,


I think parents would struggle to pay that additional fee.


Meanwhile, at St Patrick's High in Keady, 400 pupils


get free school transport, including the head


I live about seven miles away and I made use of the bus


for the past few years and I know that at my parents had to pay for me


for the past few years and I know that if my parents had to pay for me


to get the bus to school, it would seriously impact the family.


Us living in rural areas, it isn't easy to get


in and out of school, because this is


Don't know whether the education system can bear any more cuts. If we


can afford to spend ?490 million to fund financial incompetence in the


Government, people can find money somewhere else to stop this cutting


of education. There is still some distance to go before the charges


are introduced. The EA will have to consult and still pick up the bulk


of a pupil's yearly bus fare but this is another sign of just


squeezed the education budget is. It's lovely to look at,


but the snow caused some travel problems overnight


and throughout today. There were difficult driving


conditions, some disruption to train and bus networks,


and a number of school closures. It's a very chilly night and we are


expecting some icy conditions, there is a weather warning for eyes


through to lunchtime tomorrow and black ice could prove hazardous in


some spots but there is good news. As we make our way through tonight,


some slightly milder air will start coming from the and by the morning,


many hovering just above freezing but still cold with some frosty


conditions out there and as we mentioned, some ice. Tomorrow,


temperatures will continue to rise but there will be a scattering of


showers, beginning to move in from the north and west tomorrow morning


affecting largely northern and western areas, but a few could sink


further south and east. If you are travelling tomorrow, it will be a


very cold start across England and northerns -- Scotland and northern


England but sunshine as well, many areas of northern England enjoying


fine sunshine. Scattered showers the Wales and south-west England as the


weather front pushes eastwards. Across Ireland, the milder air will


move in, allowing temperatures declined to seven or 8 degrees but


there will be some scattered showers. It is not always going to


be raining, there will be sunny gaps. And for us by the middle of


the day, top temperatures of seven or eight, so well up on what we have


today. Into tomorrow, we see rain beginning to move in for a while. It


is going to be a mild night tomorrow, seven or 8 degrees, sets


us up for a milder they come Sunday, temperatures should reach double


figures for us all but it will be cloudy, there will be some rain as


well but we hold onto those double-digit figures right through


until Tuesday at least. We are back at 5:30pm tomorrow. From


everyone here, have a good night.


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