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Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said that the North West hospitality grant scheme announced today is inadequate and does not go far enough to help businesses and workers who are worried about losing their livelihoods.

The Foyle MP has contacted the Prime Minister, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the joint First Ministers outlining a number of interventions needed to support businesses experiencing effective lockdown conditions.

Colum Eastwood MP said:

“The package announced by the Finance Minister today is totally inadequate for the needs of businesses and workers. Businesses in the North West cannot afford to keep their doors opened based on receiving £400 per week when the current restrictions have devastated incoming trade. To put it into perspective, that barely covers a single member of staff working 9-5pm for the week on minimum wage.

“What’s needed is a much more radical, sustainable and targeted intervention. That’s why I have proposed an overall package that would make a real difference to workers and businesses with responsibility shared between the Executive and the British Government. The package needs to include a robust financial assistance scheme that will provide short-term liquidity to save jobs, a renewal of the furlough scheme at its full rate to protect low-income families and pilot schemes for a Universal Basic Income to provide an additional safety net for those in casual or insecure work.

“We also need at least an immediate uprating of universal credit to protect those who have fallen through the cracks. Without action now, we will feel the economic and social impact of redundancy and businesses collapsing.  I have made these proposals to the Prime Minister, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the joint First Ministers. It’s time every administration rolled up their sleeves to provide the support people need.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom