SDLP MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has called on the British Chancellor to introduce urgent targeted support for the hospitality sector.
It comes after a business group warned that the rising cost of energy bills and food supplies are putting jobs and businesses in the sector at risk.
The Foyle MLA said:
“We know that the cost-of -living crisis is making it more and more difficult for many businesses to survive in the current economic climate. This is especially true of the hospitality sector which was hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and which will be most affected by reductions in footfall as more people struggle to make ends meet. Many businesses in this sector also took on debt to help them during the last few difficult years which will now need to be paid back.
As a result of these pressures and the lack of support available we have already seen a number of businesses take the decision to close their doors for good and more will surely follow without an immediate intervention. The package of support offered by the previous UK Chancellor offered virtually no tailored support for small businesses. It is also shameful that at such a difficult time, the DUP Economy Minister and his party colleagues are abdicating any responsibility, with their continued boycott of our institutions leaving us unable to support businesses.
"With the Minister's party refusing to go back to work and do their jobs for the people of the North, I have today written to the UK Chancellor to demand that he put in place specific interventions to support the hospitality sector. Businesses simply cannot wait until the Autumn for support, bills will be climbing even higher and there will be further closures and job losses as a result."