Hanna frustrated with lack of progress following NI Secretary meeting

claire hanna cost of living

SDLP South Belfast MP Claire Hanna has said the SDLP is frustrated with the lack of progress on restoring Stormont and getting cost of living support to those who need it.

She was speaking after meeting with the Secretary of State and other Stormont parties alongside SDLP Stormont Leader Matthew O’Toole.

Ms Hanna said that at a time when people in Northern Ireland were really struggling, she could not understand the UK Government’s lack of urgency.

South Belfast MP Ms Hanna said:

“Despite being in the role for a number of months, Thursday was the first time that Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris gathered Northern Ireland’s parties together for talks and unfortunately very little was achieved at today’s meeting beyond getting people around the table.

“People are desperate for information about the £600 energy support payment that they were promised, but shows no signs of arriving anytime soon, leaving families forced to navigate the festive period at a time of eye watering inflation without this vital lifeline. Still the NI Secretary provided no real clarity on when people can expect to receive this money.

“There was also scant information about the government’s negotiations with the EU around the Protocol. The SDLP welcomes the positive change of tone around talks, but we want to see real progress in the days ahead so that we can reach a deal that’s in the interests of everyone in Northern Ireland and put these issues to bed once and for all.

“It was disappointing that we heard no serious proposals around restoring the Stormont institutions, with the DUP’s reasons for continuing their boycott getting more hollow by the day as families struggle to heat their homes in this cold weather. If we’re going to get an Assembly and Executive in place to tackle the issues impacting people in our communities then we need a renewed focus and impetus from the Secretary of State and the British government to do what’s needed to make that possible. The SDLP is ready to go back to work tomorrow."

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