East Belfast Ulster Unionist MLA and Communities Spokesperson, Andy Allen MBE, has called on the Minister for Finance to commit to ensuring that the Department for Communities is allocated the Barnett consequential arising from the £500M UK Government scheme announced today to support vulnerable households over winter.
Mr Allen said:
“I welcome the commitment from the Westminster Government to provide support for the most needy this winter and I am calling on the Finance Minister to confirm today that he will ensure that every penny allocated to Northern Ireland through this Barnett Consequential is delivered to the Department of Communities.
“The recent energy price hikes, coupled with the removal of the Universal Credit £20 uplift and the delay in closing welfare mitigation loopholes, is placing unbearable pressure on families and individuals as we head into winter. It would be inexcusable for the Minister to consider allocating this money anywhere other than to those who are facing the dilemma of choosing between heating and eating.
“I would expect the Communities Minister to produce a plan that provides long-term and meaningful support for those most impacted by the changes, as the situation is likely to worsen over coming months. The Minister should immediately move to establish a focused task force of sector experts to assist the Department in developing long-term and targeted intervention.”