Independent North Down Unionist MLA Alex Easton has called for a concerted approach from Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly to address the spiralling cost of living.
Speaking today he stated;
“Families are struggling, difficult choices are having, to be made and the cost of living is spiralling upwards on a frightening trajectory.
The Chancellor should rule nothing out in addressing this.
Action should be taken in concert with the Northern Ireland Assembly to maximize the easing of the burden our families are experiencing.
I have added my voice to pleas to the Chancellor on stopping the increase in national insurance and cutting VAT and duty on fuel – particularly since we are seeing a 14 year high on the cost of oil in global markets but I fear this will be insufficient and additional action is required.
That is why fresh thinking is urgently required and nothing should be off the table in the UK response. We have as an Assembly rightly provided targeted support in the past to vulnerable people and families. We must look at this again with fresh eyes particularly to upscaling the number of families that can access support given the increased scale of families affected.
Our priority must be addressing the cost of living. Inaction is not an option with measures including
Cut VAT on home heating fuel and petrol
Cancel the planned 1.25% increase in National Insurance contributions
Offer targeted support to those households most in need with those on low income and PIP and Attendance Allowance being helped also.
Alex Easton MLA concluded by asking the Executive for urgent support for staff in the Health and Social Care sector who are using their own vehicles to provide necessary health and social care services given the spiralling fuel costs on them and introducing an emergency travel allowance for all staff.