Why everyone’s making the same woodburner joke after the General Election

The snap General Election called by Prime Minister Theresa May resulted in a hung parliament and in the Conservatives losing their majority in the House of Commons.

As a consequence, May looks set to strike a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, who won 10 seats in the election, in order to form a government.

With the DUP’s track record coming under increased scrutiny from the UK national media given their new-found prominence in the Commons, lots of people took to social media to make the same joke about wood-burning stoves.

DUP leader Arlene Foster was at the centre of the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal (which is also known as the Cash For Ash scandal) during her time as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The botched scheme paid applicants to use renewable energy, but no cost controls were put in place. The rate paid for using renewable energy was more than the cost of heating, which meant applicants who took advantage of the incentives to install biomass and wood pellet boiler stoves under the RHI made profit simply by heating their properties.

When the scandal broke in 2016, it was estimated that the scheme is set to cost the public purse almost £500m over the course of RHI contracts.

So when the DUP looked set to enter into a deal with the Conservatives, lots of Twitter users predicted a single policy would be adopted by the Tory minority government: mandatory woodburners for all.

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