SDLP Assembly Member Justin McNulty has hit out at the decision by the Executive to exclude 16-18 year olds from the High Street Voucher Scheme.
The Newry & Armagh MLA, ‘I have had some reservations about this scheme from the outset. Initially, the stated intention of the Voucher Scheme was to provide a much needed boost to local business – it was on that basis that I urged the Economy Minister to take steps to ensure the money from the scheme made its way to small and locally owned retailers, rather than large multinationals – the Minister chose to ignore that call.
‘Now we are being told that 16 & 17 year olds will be excluded from the scheme – this simply isn’t good enough. Young people in the retail and broader service sectors have played a huge role in keeping our economy moving throughout the pandemic, so it’s a real slap in the face for them to be told that they aren’t important enough to be a part of the recovery.
‘It really doesn’t take much searching to find out why young people feel so disconnected from the political process, and why there such low turnout amongst young voters at election time. These young workers pay taxes and make national insurance contributions – they deserve to be treated with the respect they have earned.