Kelly: SDLP step up as DUP fail to help taxis and buses
The Upper Bann MLA commented:
“After months of pathetic party political point scoring, finally the Joint First Ministers have accepted that Minister Mallon did not have and does not have the powers to act and therefore has been unable to provide financial support to the taxi and private operator businesses.”
“It is alarming that the Economy Minister Diane Dodds not only has the powers she has had them for months but has failed to act. She has left the taxi industry, private bus operators and others in dire straits. She has failed to take any responsibility. It is absolutely shameful and the excuse of being busy is unacceptable.”
“I welcome that Nichola Mallon’s position has now been vindicated as at last the DUP and Sinn Fein have accepted that only the Minister for the Economy has the powers to act. It will be a relief to many that, Minister Mallon has made it clear if new powers are provided to her, she will step up where the DUP have failed to do so.”
“It isn’t all good news though, as Minister Mallon has also made it clear to the Joint First Ministers, that because the Economy Minister has declined to use the powers she has, these industries have faced delay after delay in terms of receiving support and in the absence of action from the Economy Minister, it will mean starting from scratch which will lead to further delay for the industries at a time when they are struggling to survive.”
“This is a remarkable situation - as the powers held by the Economy Minister and her department’s expertise in scheme creation and the information it holds on schemes to date, DfE would be able to deliver support much more quickly to those in need. Questions need answered - why is one Minister allowed to sit back and do nothing with the powers she has while industries suffer?
“Just like what we witnessed in relation to victims pensions - where the big two parties fail to do their jobs, show leadership and meet the needs of ordinary people, smaller parties, with more competent ministers will invariably will have to step up and meet the gap.”