UUP: Westminster should provide a safety net for NI

Westminster must step in to provide a “safety net” for families struggling due to soaring inflation and the cost-of-living crisis in the absence of a functioning Executive at Stormont, the UUP has said.

The party’s communities spokesperson, East Belfast MLA Andy Allen, also sounded a warning about the possibility that the Northern Ireland Protocol could “hinder” government intervention to support families in Northern Ireland.

“The cost-of-living crisis is a lived experience for people right across the United Kingdom,” he said. “However, England, Scotland and Wales each have governments who can bring forward measures to try and provide a safety net through the worst of the increases whereas Northern Ireland does not.

“We have families skipping meals, parents not eating so their children can, food banks under significant pressure, households rationing electricity and heating and citizens coming to harm. They deserve a functioning Assembly and Executive to bring forward support.

Andy Allen UUP

“In the absence of such, the UK government must intervene and ensure that Northern Ireland is included in any additional measures they intend on taking. These additional measures should include the removal of VAT on energy. I have raised the need for government intervention with the secretary of state.”

He continued: “Northern Ireland cannot be left behind and if the protocol is stopping or slowing the implementation of measures to alleviate pressures on families in Northern Ireland, then the government must take action to remove those obstacles. The politics of the protocol must not be allowed to hinder delivering help and support to all our people.

“It would be shameful if the people of Northern Ireland were not able to receive support through government measures.”